Course Description


MIT 4102G-001 (Winter 2021)   Special Topics in MIT: Environment, Animals, Culture and Communication

Instructor: E. Comor

Course Description

Throughout history, how human beings have interacted with and conceptualized life on earth (including their own lives) has been the complex outcome of predominant political-economic relations and cultural orientations. The complexity of these interactions and conceptualizations constitutes a significant barrier in efforts to comprehend contemporary existential threats, such as global warming, the destruction of essential resources, unprecedented rates of extinction, and many others.

In this course, conceptual tools garnered from media and communications studies (and other fields including political economy, sociology, anthropology, social psychology, and environmental studies) will be applied in an effort to better understand the ongoing dynamics shaping humanity’s relationship with life on earth. In this effort, the course will address the following:

  • the state of the environment and our treatment of animals;
  • media representations of the environment and animals;
  • our capacity to make reflective and collective decisions about the environment and our relationships with animals; &
  • the potential for change involving predominant mediators, such as educational institutions, nation-states and international organizations, the internet, advertising and marketing, and the entertainment industry.

3 lecture hours, 0.5 course



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