Course convenor: Dr Omar Al-Ghazzi

This course starts with the premise that the understanding of the past and the future is socially-constructed, mediated, and shaped by power relations within the present. It critically explores cultural, political and technological issues in relation to the passing of time.

It addresses questions such as: How do different kinds of media represent and structure collective notions about time whether in relation to the present, the past or the future? How do power relations shape understandings and experiences of time? How do we learn about history through media and why does that matter? How do histories and experiences of colonialism impact collective understandings of history and national futures?

In addressing these questions, this course makes creative connections between various topics in media and communication studies and cultural studies. It introduces students to the field of collective memory, differentiating it from history and historiography. It then considers critical issues within the relation between history, memory and politics, which are colonialism/postcolonialism, nationalism, witnessing and collective action. 

The class then shifts focus to the analysis of technology and media in the ways they contribute to the social construction of time. It addresses how privilege and access to technology regulate the speed and slowness of people’s lives. It moves on to exploring how particular media conventions represent temporality, including news media, social media and digital technologies. The course also covers the social and political significance of popular culture representations of the past and the future (including in TV and film).

By the end of the course, students will be able to identify key debates in the study of time, temporality, and collective memory particularly as approached from the disciplinary perspective of communications and media studies.