CMS.S60/CMS.S96 Media Effects of Stereotyping and Morality: Racism and Resistance

Instructor: Laura Partain
Course: CMS.S60/96
Meeting Time: Tuesday, Thursday 2-3:30 pm EST
Meeting Place: Building 56 Room 191
Office Location: Zoom
Office Hours: By Appointment
Email Address: lpartain@mit.edu

Course Description:

Do violent video games lead to violent behavior? Can the news media brainwash people? Would more diverse television representations result in a less racist society? These are the questions of media effects researchers.

In this course, we will explore how media messages lead to different outcomes. Specifically, we will look at the way that media stereotypes can shape audiences’ emotions, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. Taking a media effects approach, we will examine the development of racist and bigoted worldviews, assessing the way that socialization processes lead to in-group and out-group formations and the perpetuation of stereotypes. Although we will root our explorations in social psychological theory, we will also read historical, critical, and post-colonial literature to better understand the global contexts and ideologies behind racist attitudes and behaviors. Our readings will focus on global anti-Blackness, anti-Muslim racism, and anti-Indigeneity, but we will also touch on other forms of racism (for example, towards immigrants and refugees). We will explore the state of media representations, the effects of these representations, and the role of morality in decision making processes, as well as potential interventions into media messages and mediated bias reduction strategies.