2020 Election & Social Media

HNR 360 - 2020 Election & Social Media

MySlice Info:

Term: Fall 2020
Class #: 21642
Section: M010
Credits: 3

Thompson,Margaret Susan

Counts toward:
HNR Soc Sci

Course Time(s):
TuTh 03:30pm-04:50pm


Course Description:

Beginning in 2008, the so-called “new media”—from social networks to blogs and podcasts, to narrow-cast radio and video—have played increasingly significant roles in American electoral politics. And these same new media continue to evolve and shape the style and substance of campaigns and governance. In this class, we will explore the roles of these media, focusing on the 2020 presidential race, but also giving some consideration to House and Senate contests. Among the resources we will examine are networking sites (especially Facebook); YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter; candidate sites; various blogs; television programs such as The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, Full Frontal, and SNL; and electronic outlets for traditional news media. Class members will work in teams to follow the election (presidential and other major races) in various states and regions, and each student will be required to present a piece of independent, individual research (in other words, a term project) by the end of the semester. Class sessions will be largely discussion based, rather than centering on lectures.

This course also will enable community engagement and trans‐generational outreach because, in addition to the Honors students who are enrolled for credit, there will be 10-12 participants from “Oasis,” a cultural enrichment program for senior adults. [We will meet once a week with the Oasis members, and once a week on our own.] Because both the subject matter and the resource material for this course are new and are constantly evolving, students inevitably will help to shape some of the actual direction of our work. Additionally, given the unpredictability of electoral cycles, we will need to be open to the unexpected! In any event, it is hoped that this class will prepare participants not only to understand the transforming and transformative world of American politics, but also the challenges and consequences of using online materials in pursuing scholarly research and inquiry. Finally, we will attend to the differences between how those born in the mid-20th century and younger adults participate in the electoral process and think about citizenship, as well as how they use and respond to the new media in all its varieties.