CMST 301 Political Communication Syllabus (subject to revision and regular tinkering)

Fall 2014 Class Time: MW, 10AM-12:20PM, Williamson 225

Instructor: Patricia Chantrill, Ph.D. Office Hours: MW 8:30AM-9:30AM, COM Bldg., Rm. 205 Cheney Campus.


Course Overview: This course is designed for students interested in the nature and function of communication in the political process. We will focus more on theory and analysis than on professional training, though all who endeavor to engage in some facet of political communication should benefit. The course is organized around three specific genres of political discourse: (1) Political culture and popular media; (2) Social movements and election campaigns; and (3) The role of communication in government. Topics covered will include contemporary political culture, national party conventions, political campaign debates, citizen activism, inaugural addresses, major policy speeches, legislative debates, public hearings, and judicial confirmation proceedings.

Course Objectives: Students completing the course should gain an understanding of

  • The ways in which popular media shape and reflect perceptions of politics and government; (
  • The structural and situational factors which shape political discourse;
  • The recurrent purposes and motives of communicators;
  • The expectations and demands of various publics and audiences;
  • The impact and effect of mediated observation of political communication transactions; and
  • The facilitating and inhibiting influences of formal rules for political discourse.

Required Textbooks:

  • Political Communication: Rhetoric, Government, and Citizens, Dan F. Hahn, 2nd Ed. (2003)
  • Other readings as assigned

Course Policies & Evaluation of Performance: Students are expected to read all assigned materials; attend all scheduled classes; make informed contributions to the class discussion; and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the important examples and principles related to the political communication process.

    Grading: Grades will be assigned on the basis of 400 points for the course :5 Qs (short quizzes) worth 20 points each, 7 Blog Challenges worth 10 points each, one final exam at 100 points, and one Concepts To Campaigns (C2C) research paper detailing and analyzing designated topics as applied to the 2014 campaign (details TBA) at 100 points. Presentation of the Research: 30 points. The grading scale can be found here.

    Attendance & Participation: each student is granted 2 FREE absences on LECTURE-ONLY days. All other absences will result in a 10% deduction from the final grade.

    Academic Integrity: this course will abide by EWU’s Academic Integrity Policy (see this link for details). Notably, ”Violations of academic integrity involve the use or attempted use of any method or technique enabling a student to misrepresent the quality or integrity of any of his or her work in the university and the program of study.” Students are strongly urged to contact the instructor with any concerns regarding the academic integrity of exams, assignments, and/or intellectual property before turning in anything questionable.

301 Schedule          The Game          Bias & Definition         Ideology