This course looks at the changing contours of global communication and how these reflect and relate to the development of contemporary geopolitics in an increasingly globalized and networked communication environment. It asks whether in a digitally connected world of online and mobile media and communication, United States’ influence is being challenged by major non-Western powers, notably China, Russia and India. The availability of media content from new providers offers competing and alternative perspectives that could enhance or endanger political and cultural pluralism in the world: for example, news in English from such diverse countries as Russia, China, France, Germany, Iran and Qatar, as well as entertainment from India, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, Nigeria and Brazil.
While emphasizing the continuing relevance of nation states as major players in international arena, the course will also examine the growing importance of non-state actors, such as transnational extremist groups. In a world of ‘connected devices’, state-sponsored political propaganda and corporate public relations interact with personalized viral ‘we media,’ navigating the global electronic pathways, in an era of auto-play and doctored videos, animated gifs and fake tweets, creating new spaces for globalized communication. The emergence of competing global narratives about internet governance, cyber security, propaganda and persuasion, and electronic commerce and commodification of communication, the course will suggest, is complicating discourses on geopolitics.