Advertising and Consumer Culture - Online film and media courses | Arts and Science ONLINE

Advertising & Consumer Culture

FILM 340/3.0

This course reviews advertising strategies across a range of different media to understand the construction and functions of consumer culture and citizenship in poliitcs, economics, art, and everyday life. We shall critically examine theories and case studies primarily from North America.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the fall term

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand key terms in cultural and media theory as they relate to consumer culture and advertising.
  • Identify the ways pervasive advertising and consumer culture affect social identity.
  • Analyze how advertising creates and affects meaning using approaches from semiotics, media theory and cultural studies.
  • Evaluate one’s own relation to consumer culture.
  • Analyze how consumer culture is represented and subverted in popular culture.


This course examines the role played by advertising in consumer culture from the mid- 20th century to the present. While advertising is often seen as pervasive and homogenizing, our understanding of the relationship between this mode of communication and our experience of our world, and other parts of the world, is often superficial. To redress this elision, this course examines the way in which advertising functions as a dominant trope of our culture, mediating the ways in which we understand not only ‘goods’ and ‘products’ as commodities, but also politics, sexuality, identity and globalization. Drawing on writings from communications, sociology, media studies, cultural studies, global studies, and political science, the courses traces the many tentacles of advertising and the way in which they pervade our everyday life.

It is often easy to “see through” advertisements of other eras and marvel at the simplicity of their message. In order to better understand the role played by advertising in contemporary culture, we will begin by examining what kinds of consumption are important to us, how are own views of the world (what we watch, what we buy, what we eat, how we look, how we vote) are shaped by advertisements, and consider the ways in which we define our own selves through consumption.


Fall 2022
Course Dates: 
Sep.6 - Dec. 5, 2022
Exam Dates: 
Dec 8 - 22, 2022


20% - Participation
20% - Site Analysis
20% - Response Essays
40% - Research Essay and Proposal

**Evaluation Subject to change.**


Professor Ian Robinson (

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 9 hours a week (108 hours per term) in study/practice and online activity for FILM 340.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


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Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

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Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.