War and Media Sociology 226 • Spring 2012
Professor Wendy Christensen Office: 402 Adams Hall Contact: wchriste@bowdoin.edu or 725-3268 Office hours: Mondays 2-4pm, Wednesdays 9-11am, and by appointment “The first casualty when war comes is truth.” – Senator Hiram Johnson, 1917 “Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!” -- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) This course explores the relationship between the military and the media in the United States. During wartime, the media seeks to access as much information as possible, embedding reporters with the troops and trying to present a balanced view of war, while the military seeks to control the flow and content of war information. In addition, popular culture media (e.g. film and advertisements) shape the way war and the military are perceived by the public, and the ways that past wars are remembered in the national imagination. How does the relationship between the media and military shape how we understand war, military conflicts, security, citizenship, and the U.S. as an international superpower? Throughout the semester we will consider the following questions: How has media coverage of war changed over time? Who is able to voice their own assessments (support or criticism) of military actions? Who is targeted when the State needs to drum up support for war? What kinds of ideas about patriotism and national belonging are used to build war support? How does the military’s own media affect coverage of military actions? In addition to looking at the use of media for recruitment, we will pay attention to how homefront war support is depicted as important in the media. How are military service and homefront support raced, classed and gendered? Finally, how do the pressures and opportunities created by new Internet technologies distort or enhance wartime media and the relationship between the homefront and warfront? Throughout the semester we will relate what we are learning about past wars to how the current U.S. “war on terrorism” in Iraq and Afghanistan is portrayed in the media. How is our current understanding of the war on terrorism shaped by media coverage of past wars? READINGS The following required books are available for purchase at the Bowdoin Bookstore: • •
• • •

Bernays, E. L. 1928. Propaganda. Brooklyn: Ig Publishing. Hallin, Daniel C. 1989. The ‘Uncensored War’: The Media and Vietnam. University of California Press. Monahan, B. A. 2010. The Shock of the News: Media Coverage and the Making of 9/11. NYU Press. Roeder, G. 1993. The Censored War: American Visual Experience During World War Two. Schudson, Michael. 2003. The Sociology of News. New York: Norton.

Additional required readings are available on the library reserves website and on the Coursekit calendar. Readings must be completed before class on the day that they are due. If a reading is listed under Thursday, April 5 then it must be completed before class on April 5. You will need to complete the

Page 1 of 7

readings the day before class in order to prepare for class discussion. You may need to read them earlier in order to contribute to the online discussion. I reserve the right to add (and to omit) readings during the course of the semester. I will always let you know the week before if I am making any changes to the readings. How to get in touch with me: Email is a great way to reach me with any questions. I will respond to your email within 24 hours. You are strongly encouraged to come to office hours at least once during the semester, or make an appointment to see me at another time. If my office door is open at any other time, you’re welcome to stop by. ASSIGNMENTS & GRADING Assignments: (1) Weekly Online Discussion Participation: Beginning Week 2 of the semester, each student is expected to participate in the discussion on Coursekit (www.coursekit.com) at least once before the end of the day on Friday. • What counts as a post? • • • • A question, informed by the class material (readings, lectures), that you would like to pose to the class. An answer, informed by the class material, to the professor’s question, or to another student’s question. A link to a news article, blog post, image, video etc. that is related to that week’s material, and a brief description of why it is related. Anything that is too brief (“I agree” or “good question” etc.), or anything that is not explicitly tied to course material.

What does not count as a post? •

Coursekit signup: To join Coursekit, enter the code E4LZV2 at www.coursekit.com. You will be asked to sign up for an account and create a password. Please make sure to create a profile and upload a picture. Creating War Propaganda: Due 2/17 WWII Poster Analysis: Due 3/9 Vietnam Draft Dodgers: Due 4/13

(2) Short Analysis Papers: See separate assignment descriptions. • • •

(3) Final project. Your final project is a 10-12 page paper that is a case study of one aspect of media coverage from a war we have studied this semester. You may chose any kind of media, technology, type of propaganda, theme, use of inequality etc. to research using the concepts from the course in order to analyze what you have chosen impacted the specific war. Your paper could be about the development of a new technology, comparing different media, a controversial issue during war coverage, how feature films depict war, the visual impact of pictures, or the mobilization of ideas about race, class, gender, citizenship and nationhood in war coverage etc. It must be American or comparative in focus (i.e. you could compare war coverage in the U.S. with another country). The paper has to be done in stages, each of which carries points toward the final grade. Your paper must make real, appropriate use of at least three of the books or articles of the assigned reading list as well as whatever outside research sources you need (a minimum of Page 2 of 7

three additional academic books or articles). You are strongly encouraged to meet with me during the semester about your research paper. The stages and the final paper count for 30% of your final grade. Project Stages: 1. Monday 3/27: A paragraph description of your paper topic along with a provisional list of references (course readings and non-course readings you intend to cite) due in class. 2. Monday 4/25: A paragraph summarizing the argument you intend to make due in class. 3. Wednesday 5/18: A hard copy of your paper is due in my office or my 3rd floor mailbox. Electronic Paper Submission: Analysis papers must be submitted through the Coursekit website. To submit a paper online, go to the course Calendar, and scroll to the appropriate assignment. Click “Submit” to upload the paper. Make sure the paper is in one of the following formats: .doc .docx .pdf .txt or .rtf. Late and missed assignments: Work must be submitted online when it is due. If you have trouble accessing the Coursekit website, you may email me the assignment by the due date. Late assignments will only be accepted with prior consent (given on a case-by-case basis), and will lose a letter grade for each day they are late. Grading: After grading the papers for a particular assignment, I will email you your grade along with a paragraph or two of comments. Your grade will also be posted to the Coursekit website (only you and the professor can see your grades on Coursekit). Grading Criteria: A B C D F Final Grades: 20% 20% 30% 30% Weekly Online Contributions Attendance and Participation Three Analysis Papers (10% each) Final Research Paper COURSE POLICIES Attendance: Attendance is required. You may miss two classes without penalty. Each absence beyond the second will result in your grade being lowered. If you must miss a class, it is your responsibility to get the notes and assignments from another student. If You Need Help: Do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance. The key to success is to head off problems before they turn into emergencies. The sooner you get in touch with me about an issue, the sooner we can work to solve it together. Shows mastery of the course material and demonstrates exceptional critical skills and originality. Demonstrates a thorough and above average understanding of the material. Demonstrates a thorough and satisfactory understanding of the material. Demonstrates a marginally satisfactory understanding of the basic material. Does not demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of the basic material.

Page 3 of 7

Special accommodations: If you require special accommodations to participate in, or to complete the work in this course, please let me know within the first two weeks of class so that we can make the necessary arrangements. Academic honesty: I fully expect you to follow the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code. Anytime you are required to turn in individual work I expect that what you turn in will be written solely by you and will be unique from that of your classmates. Students who attempt to pass off the work of others as their own or assist others in doing so will receive zero points for the work and will be subjected to disciplinary action as determined by the college. Please ask if you have any questions about what is and is not acceptable. CBB has put together a guide about avoiding academic misconduct at http://abacus.bates.edu/cbb/. Additionally, the Bowdoin Library has an online guide for citing sources properly at http://library.bowdoin.edu/1st/sources.shtml. COURSE SCHEDULE → WEEK 1: How do Sociologists Study Media? Tuesday 1/24 • Welcome & Introductions Thursday 1/26 Read: • Introduction and Chapters 1 & 2 of Schudson’s The Sociology of the News → WEEK 2: Sociology of Media Tuesday 1/31 Read: • Chapters 3 & 4 of Schudson’s The Sociology of the News Thursday 2/2 Read: • Chapters 7 & 8 of Schudson’s The Sociology of the News Assignment: First Coursekit post due by Friday 2/3. → WEEK 3: Propaganda Tuesday 2/7 Read: • Introduction and Chapters 1-3 of Bernays’ Propaganda Thursday 2/9 Read: • • Chapters 4, 6, & 11 of Bernays’ Propaganda Lee, A. M., & Lee, E. B. The Fine Art of Propaganda (1939).

→ WEEK 4: World War I Tuesday 2/14 Read: • Page 4 of 7 Chapters 9 & 10 of Schudson’s The Sociology of the News

Thursday 2/16 Read: • Latham. 2008. “Technology and Reel Patriotism” in American Film Advertising of the World War I Era” in Rollins, P. C., & O'Connor, J. E. (Eds.). Why We Fought: America's Wars in Film and History. Louisville, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky.

Friday, 2/17: Creating War Propaganda Due → WEEK 5: World War II Tuesday 2/21 Read: • Chambers, John Whiteclay II. 2008. “The Peace, Isolationist, and Anti-interventionist Movement and Interwar Hollywood. in Rollins, P. C., & O'Connor, J. E. (Eds.). Why We Fought: America's Wars in Film and History. Louisville, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky.

Thursday 2/23 Read: • Prologue and Chapters 1 & 2 (including Visual Essays 1 &2) of Roeder’s The Uncensored War: American Visual Experience During World War Two

→ WEEK 6: World War II Tuesday 2/28 Read: • Scott, Ian S. 2008. “Why We Fight and Projections of America” in Rollins, P. C., & O'Connor, J. E. (Eds.). Why We Fought: America's Wars in Film and History. Louisville, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. Chapter 3 and Visual Essay 3 of Roeder’s The Uncensored War: American Visual Experience During World War Two

Thursday 3/1 Read: • Chapter 4 and Visual Essay 4 of Roeder’s The Uncensored War: American Visual Experience During World War Two

→ WEEK 7: The Korean War and the Cold War Tuesday 3/6 The Korean War Read: • Brewer, Susan A. 2009. “War in Korea” in Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq. pages 141-178

Film 7pm: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) in VAC Beam (~1.5 hours) Thursday 3/8 The Cold War Read: • Gamson, William A., and David Stuart. 1992. “Media discourse as a symbolic contest: The bomb in political cartoons.” Sociological Forum 7(1):55-86.

SPRING BREAK Page 5 of 7

→ WEEK 8: Vietnam Tuesday 3/27 Read: • Introduction and Chapters 1 & 2 (skip “The Buddhist Crisis pages 43-49) of Hallin’s The “Uncensored War” The Media and Vietnam

Film 7pm: Apocalypse Now (1979) in VAC Beam (~2.5 hours) Thursday 3/29 Read: • Tomasulo, F. (1990). “The Politics of Ambivalence” Apocalypse Now as Prowar and Antiwar Film” in Dittmar, L., & Michaud, G. (Eds.). From Hanoi to Hollywood: The Vietnam War in American Film: Rutgers University Press. Chapter 3 (skip “”We Aren’t Going North” and “Retaliation and the Eerie Silence” pages 75-87) of Hallin’s The “Uncensored War” The Media and Vietnam

→ WEEK 9: Vietnam at Home Tuesday 4/3 Read: • Chapter 4 (pages 104-158) of Hallin’s The “Uncensored War” The Media and Vietnam Thursday 4/5 Read: • Chapter 5 and Conclusion of Hallin’s The “Uncensored War” The Media and Vietnam → WEEK 10: Post-Vietnam and the First Gulf War Tuesday 4/10 Read: • Jeffords, S. (1989). “Fact, Fiction, and the Spectacle of War” and “The Remasculinization of America” in The Remasculinization of America: Gender and the Vietnam War (Vol. 10). Bloomington, IL: Indiana University Press.

Thursday 4/12 Read: • Kendrick, M. (1994). “Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome: CNN and CBS’s Video Narratives of the Persian Gulf War,” in Jeffords, S., & Rabinovitz, L. (Eds.). Seeing Through the Media: The Persian Gulf War. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Beamish, Thomas D, Harvey Molotch, and Richard Flacks. 1995. “Who Supports the Troops? Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the Making of Collective Memory.” Social Problems. 42 (3):344-360.

→ WEEK 11: September 11, 2001 Tuesday 4/17 Read: • Chapters 1-3 of Monahan’s The Shock of the News: Media Coverage & The Making of 9/11

Thursday 4/19 Page 6 of 7

Read: • Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 10 of Monahan’s The Shock of the News: Media Coverage & The Making of 9/11

Wednesday 4/18 Film 7pm: Control Room (2004) Adams 406 → WEEK 12: The War on Terrorism Tuesday 4/24 Read: • • Lindner, M. (2008) “Controlling the Media in Iraq.” Contexts. Vol. 7, No. 2: pp. 32–39 Christensen, W. M., and Ferree, M. M. 2008. “Cowboy of the World? Gender Discourse and the Iraq War Debate.” Qualitative Sociology 31(Special Issue on Political Violence):287-306.

Thursday 4/26 Read: • • Altheide, D. L., & Grimes, J. N. (2005). “War Programming: The Propaganda Project and the Iraq War.” Sociological Quarterly, 46, 617-643. Bamford, J. “The Man Who Sold the War: Meet John Rendon, Bush’s Genera in the Propaganda War.” Rolling Stone Nov. 18, 2005 [link on Coursekit]

→ WEEK 13: New Technology and the War on Terrorism Tuesday 5/1 Read: • • • Wall, M. (2005). “'Blogs of War' Weblogs as News” Journalism, 6(2), 153-172. Kamber, M. “Bearing Witness in Iraq” New York Times Dec. 19, 2011 [link on Coursekit] Keller, B. “The Inner Lives of Wartime Photographers” New York Times May 5, 2011. [link on Coursekit]

Thursday 5/3 Read: • Chapters 12, 14, 15 in Turse, N. (2009). The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives: Holt Paperbacks.

→ WEEK 14: How should the media cover war? Tuesday 5/8 Read: • • “The Times and Iraq” From the Editors: The New York Times May 26, 2004 [link on Coursekit] “The WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs: Greatest Data Leak in U.S. Military History” De Spiegel. October 22, 2010 [link on Coursekit]

May 14th at 2pm: Final Research Paper Due

Page 7 of 7

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.