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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2004

T C 357 • Social Justice and the Media – W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39685 M
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
cma a5.136

Course Description

Everyone is for justice, just as they are for peace, freedom, and democracy. The question is: What kind of justice? Achieved through what kinds of systems and institutions? What constitutes a just society? Which political, social, and economic systems and institutions are most likely to produce justice? We will ask these questions and then move on to assess the role of mass media in social justice. What role can journalists and media institutions play in the quest for justice? Do contemporary commercial news outlets help or hinder the work of building a more just society?

About the Professor: Jensen's research on media law/ethics/politics draws on feminist theory, lesbian/gay studies, critical legal studies, and cultural studies. Much of his work has focused on pornography and the radical feminist critique of sexuality. He is co-editor of Freeing the First Amendment and co-author of the forthcoming Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality. Jensen earned a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Minnesota and has nine years of professional journalism experience. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in media law and ethics, qualitative research methods and critical theory, and writing and editing. In 1996, he won the Ex-Student Association's teaching award for the College of Communication. Jensen does not own a car, own a television, or eat meat. He does ride a bike, read a lot, and cook with tofu.

Grading Policy

We will divide our time between discussions of readings, discussions of exemplary journalistic works on social justice, and presentations of student work. Writing assignments include: (1) a short essay that completes the sentence, “In a just society, ...” (2-4 pages, 5 percent of final grade); (2) a short essay that completes the sentence, “In a just society, journalists would ...” (2-4 pages, 5 percent of final grade); (3) an analysis of an exemplary journalistic work (2-4 pages, 15 percent of final grade); (4) a scholarly paper on some aspect of social justice and the media, or a journalistic project that examines a question of justice in the world (50 percent of final grade). The remaining 25 percent of your grade will be based on participation in class, assessed according to your: (a) familiarity with readings; (b) ability to hear and understand what others say; (c) ability to express yourself clearly; (d) ability to synthesize the thoughts of others to form new insights or questions; (e) ability to disagree constructively; (f) cooperation in building a stimulating and supportive intellectual atmosphere in class; and (g) attendance.


Paine, Thomas, Common Sense (any edition). Also available online at various sites, including: Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto (any edition). Also available online at various sites, including: Packet including readings from: Robert Solomon; C. Edwin Baker; C. Douglas Lummis; Walter Lippmann; P. Samuel Huntington; Roger S Gottlieb; Douglas Kellner; Daniel Guerin; Emma Goldman; Marilyn Frye; Audre Lorde; Andrea Dworkin; Angela Davis; W.E.B. DuBois; Howard Winant; George Lipsitz; and others.


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