The Media and Politics

Level: Open to students entering grade 9 or 10 in fall 2015.
Session: I, June 29–July 17, 2015
Days & Time: Monday–Friday, 10:10 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 2:10–4:00 p.m.
Jennifer M. Hudson ,
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The amount I’ve learned in the past 3 weeks has been incredible. You learn about others’ opinions, about current issues, and this totally changes the way you see things!— Anisa Tapia, 2014

Course Description

This course explores a broad range of questions concerning the relationship between the media and politics, with a focus on historical and contemporary issues presented in the American context: Does the government control the media—or do the media control the government? Do the news media educate or manipulate the citizenry? What is the role of the press in a democracy and how does the First Amendment protect the press in America? And what has the impact been of the new information technologies—most recently, the “blogosphere”—upon the traditional media and upon the political role of citizens?

We focus on a number of national and global events, from the past and the present, in which the relation between the media and politics have come into stark relief or have been redefined. Topics from the American experience include investigative journalism during Watergate, manipulation of the news in presidential campaigns, coverage of the Iraq War, and Supreme Court decisions on clear and present danger. Students investigate global issues based on their individual interests and in consultation with the instructor.

Students engage with the material through a combination of lectures, daily discussions, in-class debates, guest speakers from the world of journalism and politics, and a field trip to a live news broadcast. Assigned readings range from classic philosophic texts to First Amendment cases. 


Jennifer M. Hudson

Jennifer M. Hudson is Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities at Bard College and a member of the social science faculty at Bard Prison Initiative (BPI).  She will obtain her Ph.D. in political science (political theory) from Columbia University in September. Her doctoral thesis, The Bureaucratic Mentality in Contemporary Democracy and Democratic Theory, addresses the historical and contemporary relationship between bureaucracy and democracy, focusing on nineteenth and twentieth century social theory and contemporary democratic political theory. At Bard, Hudson has co-taught the freshman seminar with College President Leon Botstein as well as courses in political theory and political economy in several maximum and medium security correctional facilities where BPI maintains campuses. She has taught political science, political theory, and international affairs at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia College, Barnard College, and Long Island University at American Ballet Theatre. Hudson was a Fulbright scholar in Freiburg, Germany, and holds master’s degrees from Columbia University and the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris, France. She completed her B.A. in political science at UCLA, where she graduated summa cum laude and with college and departmental honors. Her research and teaching interests include democratic theory, European politics, nationalism, multiculturalism, history and theory of capitalism and economic inequality, legal theory, and international relations.  

Specific course information, such as hours and instructors, are subject to change at the discretion of the University.