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Are new communication technologies a democratizing force opening up the direct participation of people in the political system? Has the widespread adoption of online communications given state bureaucracies and private corporations excessive power over individuals? Is the Internet the ultimate device for emancipation and empowerment or is it the most powerful tool for manipulation and surveillance ever created? Are these binary views of communications even valid? Are they useful? How should they be challenged?

This course will explore and problematize these questions, examining evolving ideas about the democratic utopia of communications in the 21st century and its mirrored dystopias. Drawing from a wide range of texts and audiovisual material, this course will trace the rise and fall of the cyberutopian paradigm in communication studies, establishing connections with philosophical, political, economic, and cultural trends.

Students from all departments across the university are welcomed. Our meetings will aim to generate a cross-disciplinary dialogue to help us reach preliminary conclusions about contemporary society and the digital public sphere.

Javier Sauras 

Javier Sauras is a Ph.D. candidate in Communications at Columbia University in New York, and a multimedia journalist. As a reporter, he has worked on issues of human rights and development across the globe, being a news-wire correspondent in China, covering the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the civil war and famine in South Sudan, and elections and crises in Latin America. His work appears on Al Jazeera English, El País, Zeit Online, and Internazionale, among other outlets.


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