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University of Oklahoma

[IAS 5373] Media and Conflict Latin Amer - 493

Anthony Spencer

Course Description

Media and Conflict in Latin America


Latin America is a region that has been shaped by conflict. Today people in many Latin American countries live in a state of strife or discontent. Revolutions, civil wars, drug wars and other types of armed struggles are a reality in Latin America. Government propaganda, news coverage, and social media have altered the way we understand the concepts of war and peace in the region. Students will study how revolutions, conflicting political ideologies, and the Cold War have shaped Latin America along with other historical forces. In addition to understanding conflict, we will also examine ways that traditional and social media can help diffuse tensions. This course will feature important academic texts as well as real-world examples from journalists and revolutionary leaders.

Course Dates

DatesJuly 11-31, 2022
Last day to enroll or drop without penaltyJune 12, 2022

Site Director

This is a three-credit hour online course. Please see your local Site Director or email our online site coordinator at

Professor Contact Information

Course ProfessorDr. Anthony Spencer

Textbook(s) and Instructional Materials

Student materials are available at the OU Bookstore Website at The website has book selling, renting, buying, returning, and order tracking capabilities. If you need help with an order, or if you have any questions contact the toll-free phone at 1-(855)-790-6637, agents are available from 9a – 5p (EST) Monday – Friday. Text prices are available online

Citizens' Media Against Armed Conflict : Disrupting Violence in Colombia
Citizens' Media Against Armed Conflict : Disrupting Violence in Colombia
by Rodríguez, Clemencia
Published by University of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9780816665846
Contemporary Latin American Revolutions
Contemporary Latin American Revolutions
by Becker, Marc
Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Incorporated
ISBN: 9781538163733

OU Email

All official correspondence from instructors will be sent only to students’ address.


Email Account and Canvas: Students are expected to check their OU email accounts and the course site on Canvas daily for updates from the instructor


Course Objectives

  1. In this course students will learn to identify various types of conflict as well as understand the historical roots of present-day wars and armed struggles in Latin America.
  2. They will analyze the media portrayal of conflicts and be able to critically discuss media coverage.
  3. Students will also demonstrate competencies in how both traditional and social media can be used to reduce conflict.

Course Outline






Introduction to Conflict in Latin




Module 1 Assignment: Response Paper

Discussion Board Post


Background of Power Structures/Traditional War/Conflict




Immigration/Language & Conflict  

Online Reading

Module 2 Assignment: Discussion Board Post


Drug Trade & Conflict

Online Reading



Gender & Conflict

Online Reading



Dictators & Conflict




Alternatives to Conflict




Response Paper Due 7/17

You should write a 3-page response to a chapter (particular conflict) from the Becker book. Each paper should be double-spaced and follow APA style. I encourage you to choose a chapter that relates to a country/conflict in Latin America that interests you. This interest can be based on a country or the concept presented in the chapter. In this paper you must include the following information: (1) address the key points in the reading, (2) discuss any concerns or criticisms you have of the reading, and (3) develop questions for discussion arising from the reading.


Discussion Board Participation Due 7/24 & 7/31

Each student will receive points (up to a maximum of 30) each week for a well-developed post which answers the prompt/question posed by the instructor. Each student will receive points (up to 20) for responding to the posts of at least 2 classmates’ posts each week. The total maximum points are 50 per week. These posts should be grounded in course readings, research conducted by the student and personal experience. It is also expected that students will treat others with respect during these discussions.


Research Paper Due 8/7

Each student will conduct an in-depth investigation on a past or recent conflict in Latin America. The student may choose any mediated form (television, radio, newspaper, new media, etc.)  as a lens through which we view(ed) that particular conflict. Examples include (but are not limited) to:

  • Newspaper Coverage of the Falklands War
  • Radio in Colombia
  • Twitter in the Venezuela Uprising
  • Film portrayal of Chile
  • TV Show illustrating Mexican Drug Violence

You must have a minimum of 8 sources (5 should be scholarly sources).

This paper will be between 8-10 pages.

Assignments, Grading and Due Dates

No extra credit is offered in this course. Final grades are not “curved.” The point scale is based on 500 points possible and is as follows:



Due Date

Points Possible

Response Paper (Module 1 Assignment)



Discussion Board (Module 2 Assignment)



Discussion Board (Module 3 Assignment)



Final Research Paper



Total Possible Points Earned




*All assignments are due at 11:59 pm CST


Grading: This is a letter-graded course: A, B, C, D, or F.


Written Assignment Policy

You will receive a thorough description of all assignments. All written work must be typed and must follow APA format (6th edition). There are no exceptions to this requirement. All assignments must be turned in as a paper copy on the due date. You may not email written work to the instructor.


Academic Honesty

Honesty is a fundamental precept in all academic activities and … [you] have a special obligation to observe the highest standards of honesty. Academic misconduct in any form is inimical to the purposes and functions of the University and is therefore unacceptable and is rigorously proscribed. Academic misconduct includes: cheating (using unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise), plagiarism, falsification of records, unauthorized possession of examinations, intimidation, and any and all other actions that may improperly affect the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement; assisting others in any such act; or attempting to engage in such acts.


All acts of academic misconduct will be reported and adjudicated as prescribed by the student code of the University of Oklahoma. All students should review the “Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity” found at



Any and all course materials, syllabus, lessons, lectures, etc. are the property of instructor teaching the course and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and are protected under applicable copyright.


Attendance Policy

Attendance/Classroom Discussion Policy

Attendance and participation in interaction, individual assignments, group exercises, simulations, role playing, etc. are valuable aspects of any course because much of the learning comes from interactions in class with other students. I want you to participate in class. Participation is an important part of the learning process. Please be considerate and appropriate when participating in classroom discussions. I want you to feel comfortable enough to voice your opinions and ask questions with minimal limitations. Yet, with freedom comes responsibility. Please keep in mind that not everyone comes from the same background, or shares the same values and ideals. Please be appropriate (professional) and considerate of others. If you have any questions on this matter, contact the instructor for clarification.

Policy on Late Assignments

If you hand in an assignment late (any time after it has been collected), 20% will automatically be deducted from your grade. An additional 20% will be deducted per day the assignment is late. Any assignment more than five days late will receive a 0.

Technical Support Information

If you experience technical problems, contact Information Technology by visiting their website at: or contacting them by telephone at: (405) 325-HELP (4357).


Materials posted on the OU CANVAS system:

Access CANVAS at; enter your OU NetID (4+4) and password, and select course to access the material.


Procedures for Completion of Course Evaluation: 

Upon completion of the course students should go to the Advanced Programs Online Learning Information webpage and click on the applicable semester link under “Online Course Evaluation” which will direct them to the evaluation.  The evaluation will take approximately five minutes to complete.  Completion of the online evaluation is an important tool allowing Advanced Programs to gain information and student feedback for improvement of courses.

Your responses will be kept confidential.  They will be reviewed by the department and only supplied to the professor once grades for the course have been submitted.


Materials posted on the OU CANVAS system:

Access CANVAS at; enter your OU NetID (4+4) and password, and select course to access material. Please contact your local the IT Help desk at 405-325-HELP if you require assistance.  IT is available 24/7

Statement about the MHR Program Planner and Human Relations Website

Students should become familiar with the MHR Program Planner that was sent to each student upon admission into the program.  The planner has a description of the HR program objectives and requirements, suggestions for graduate study, financial assistance, and graduation information. Of particular interest is the information on the comprehensive exams and the internship.  For further information please visit the Department of Human Relations Website at:

Reasonable Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reasonable accommodation for all students with disabilities.  Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent him or her from fully demonstrating his or her abilities should contact me personally as soon as possible so we can discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation and facilitate your educational opportunities.  Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services prior to receiving accommodations in this course.  The Office of Disability Services is located in Goddard Health Center, Suite 166, phone 405-325-3852 or TDD only 405-325-4173. For more information please see the Disability Resource Center website


Civility/Inclusivity Statement:

We understand our members represent a rich variety of backgrounds and perspectives. The Human Relations Department is committed to providing an atmosphere for learning that respects diversity. While working together to build this community we ask all members to:

  • share their unique experiences, values and beliefs
  • be open to the views of others
  • honor the uniqueness of their colleagues
  • appreciate the opportunity we have to learn from each other in this community
  • value each other’s opinions and communicate in a respectful manner
  • keep confidential discussions the community has of a personal (or professional) nature
  • use this opportunity together to discuss ways in which we can create an inclusive environment in this course and across the University of Oklahoma community.

Religious Holidays

It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without a penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays, without penalty.


Attendance/Grade Policy

Attendance and participation in interaction, individual assignments, group exercises, simulations, role playing, etc. are valuable aspects of any course because much of the learning comes from discussions in class with other students. It is expected that you attend all classes and be on time except for excused emergencies.

Excused absences are given for professor mandated activities or legally required activities such as emergencies or military assignments. It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays. Unavoidable personal emergencies, including (but not limited to) serious illness; delays in getting to class because of accidents, etc.; deaths and funerals, and hazardous road conditions will be excused.

If you are obtaining financial assistance (TA, STAP, FA, VA, Scholarship, etc.) to pay all or part of your tuition cost, you must follow your funding agency/institution’s policy regarding “I” (Incomplete) grades unless the timeline is longer than what the University policy allows then you must adhere to the University policy. Students who receive Financial Aid must resolve/complete any “I” (Incomplete) grades by the end of the term or he/she may be placed on “financial aid probation.” If the “I” grade is not resolved/completed by the end of the following term, the student’s Financial Aid may be suspended make the student ineligible for further Financial Aid.

Students are responsible for meeting the guidelines of Tuition Assistance and Veterans Assistance. See the education counselor at your local education center for a complete description of your TA or VA requirements.

OU faculty will submit grades online through ONE not later than 30 days after the course end date. Course end dates are approximately one calendar month after the final seminar date on this syllabus and are provided on the official scheduling website for reference.

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct 

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship. Academic assignments exist to help students learn; grades exist to show how fully this goal is attained. Therefore all work and all grades should result from the student's own understanding and effort.

Academic misconduct is any act which improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement. Misconduct occurs when the student either knows or reasonably should know that the act constitutes misconduct. Academic misconduct includes: cheating and using unauthorized materials on examinations and other assignments; improper collaboration, submitting the same assignment for different classes (self-plagiarism); fabrication, forgery, alteration of documents, lying, etc…in order to obtain an academic advantage; assisting others in academic misconduct; attempting to commit academic misconduct; destruction of property, hacking, etc…; intimidation and interference with integrity process; and plagiarism. All students should review the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at 

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. All students should review policies regarding student conduct at 

Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to making its activities as accessible as possible. For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact your local OU Site Director.

Adjustment for Pregnancy/Childbirth-Related Issues

Should you need modifications or adjustments to your course requirements because of documented pregnancy-related or childbirth-related issues, please contact the professor as soon as possible to discuss. Generally, modifications will be made where medically necessary and similar in scope to accommodations based on temporary disability. Please see

Title IX Resources

For any concerns regarding gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, or intimate partner violence, the University offers a variety of resources, including advocates on-call 24/7, counseling services, mutual no-contact orders, scheduling adjustments, and disciplinary sanctions against the perpetrator. Please contact the Sexual Misconduct Office at or (405) 325-2215 (8-5), or the Sexual Assault Response Team at (405) 615 -0013 (24/7) to report an incident. To learn more about Title IX, please visit the Institutional Equity Office’s website at 

Course Policies

Extended Campus (also and formerly known as Advanced Programs) policy is to order books in paperback if available. Courses, dates, and professors are subject to change. Please check with your OU Site Director. Students should retain a copy of any assignments that are e/mailed to the professor for the course. Neither duplicating services nor office supplies are provided.

Any and all course materials, syllabus, lessons, lectures, etc. are the property of professor teaching the course and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and are protected under applicable copyright.

For more information about OU Extended Campus, visit our website at:

Statement on Respect

The classroom should provide a safe learning environment where students can express their views without fear of reprisal. That freedom of expression must be balanced by demonstrated respect for other’s viewpoints and appropriate and reasonable sensitivity, especially within the context of scholarly disagreement.  Disrespectful or uncivil dialogue (including, but not limited to, personal attacks, insults, or harassment) will not be tolerated.

Recording Devices/Phones/Computers

It is important for students to be fully present during class to fully benefit from lectures, discussions, and experiential assignments. Class sessions may not be tape-recorded. All telephones and pagers should be turned off or placed on silent mode. Computers may not be used during class. Students who require an exception to this policy should discuss exceptional circumstances with the professor.


Dr. Anthony Spencer


Ph.D., Communication

Specialization: Intercultural/International Communication

Secondary Area: Anthropology

University of Oklahoma


M.J., Journalism

Specialization: Media Studies

Secondary Areas: Rhetoric/Performance

University of North Texas


B.J., Journalism

Specialization: Broadcast News

University of Texas

Current Positions

Assistant Professor Grand Valley State University

School of Communications



Explore Study Abroad

Academic Programs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama & Cuba


Frequently Taught Extended Campus (Advanced Programs) Courses

IAS 5363 Cultures of Latin America

IAS 5373 Media & Conflict in Latin America

IAS 5443 Qualitative Research Methods

IAS 5413 Global Migration & Media


Major Areas of Teaching and Research Interest

Migration, Media & Conflict, Pandemic Communication, Latin American Studies


Representative Publications and Presentations

Croucher, S.M., Nguyen, T., Ashwell, D., Spencer, A. T., Permyakova, T., Gomez, O. J. (2021).

COVID-19 Prejudice toward Afro-Brazilians. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research. 1-17.


Croucher, S.M., Nguyen, T., Dutta, M. J., Ashwell, D., Spencer, A. T., Permyakova, T., Gomez, O. J. (2021). A comparative analysis of Covid-19-related prejudice: The United States, Spain, Italy, and New Zealand. Communication Research Reports, 38(2), 78–89.


Spencer, A. T. (2019). Nicaraguan immigration to Costa Rica: Understanding power and race through language. In S.M. Croucher, J. Caetano, & E. A. Campbell. (Eds.), Companion to Migration, Communication, and Politics (pp. 266-281). Oxfordshire, UK: Taylor & Francis.


Spencer, A. T. (2013). High-End Immigrants Create an Imagined Community in Costa Rica: Examining the Evolving Discourse in Ethnic-Minority Media. Human Communication, 16(1), 13-30.


Spencer, A. T., Croucher, S. M., & Hoelscher, C. (2012). Uses and Gratifications Meets the Internet: A cross-cultural comparison of U.S. & Nicaraguan New Media Usage. Human Communication, 15(4), 229 - 240.

Spencer, A. T. (2011). Americans create hybrid spaces in Costa Rica: A framework for exploring cultural and linguistic integration, Language and Intercultural Communication, 11(1), 59-74.


Spencer, A. T. (2011). Through the linguistic looking glass: An examination of a newspaper as a cultural negotiator, Speaker & Gavel, 48(1), 31-48.  


Spencer, A. T. & Croucher, S. M. (2008).  Basque nationalism and spiral of silence: An analysis of public perceptions of ETA in Spain and France, International Communication Gazette, 70(2), 135-153.  


Spencer, A. T. (2007).  Hasta la Victoria sempre: The ongoing rhetorical revolution in Cuba, Texas Speech Communication Journal, 31(1), 16-23.  


Representative Honors and Awards Received

  • Texas A&M University System Teaching Excellence Award
  • Top paper Panel at the American Forensics Association Division National Communication Association
  • University of Oklahoma Department of Communication Qualitative Dissertation Award
  • Top paper Panel at the American Forensics Association Division National Communication Association


Major Professional Affiliations

  • National Communication Association
  • World Communication Association
  • International Communication Association