27824 - History and Media (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course focuses on the interaction between politics and communication and it will analyze, with a comparative approach, the role of mass media in the consensus building process from the end of the 19th century to the present. At the end of the course, students are expected to: - have a clear framework of the history of mass media and political communication from the end of 19th century to the present time; - develop an in-depth knowledge of analytical tools to evaluate the influence of the media system on the consensus building process; analyze specific features that characterized the evolution of electoral campaigns during the 20th century and the transformations that they produced on the mechanisms of political legitimacy.

Course contents

The course is divided into two thematic blocks:

1. Propaganda and Political communication in the first half of the 20th Century

- Mass society, media and consensus building at the turn of the century: the Dreyfus Affair and the press as «fourth estate»

- The First World War: between censorship and propaganda

- Cinema and truncheon: the consensus building during the fascist regime

- The cult of the leader and the sacralization of politics in Nazi Germany

- The propaganda in the Soviet regime from Lenin to Stalin

- The Thirties: radio and power in the US during F.D. Roosevelt "era"

- The Second World War: the «freedom voice» against totalitarian regimes

2. Political communication in democracies

- Television, polls, advertising: the "Holy trinity" of the political communication

- The Fifties between radio and television: Eisenhower as forerunner of television appearance

- 1960 Presidential elections in the US (Nixon vs Kennedy)

- The political shows "Tribune Politiche" comes in Italy

- General De Gaulle and the «telecracy» in France

- The political marketing in Great Britain during the Sixties and the Seventies

- The Eighties and the personalization of Italian politics


Monographic part (see also "Assessment methods")

- P.F. Boller, Presidential Campaigns. From George Washington to George W. Bush , Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004.

- R. Brizzi, L'uomo dello schermo. De Gaulle e i media, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2010.

- T. Burrett, Television and Presidential Power in Putin's Russia, Routledge, 2010.

- C. Ross, Media and the making of modern Germany. Mass communications, society and politics from the Empire to the Third Reich, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Teaching methods

15 two hours classes

Official language: Italian

Assessment methods

Oral examination.

Attending students must study the contents of the course and choose one book within the bibliography (see "Readings-Bibliography").

Not attending students have to choose two books within the bibliography (see "Readings-Bibliography").


It will be assessed as excellent the performance of those students achieving an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, a structural and historical-contextual understanding of the subjects studied, the originality of the reflection as well as the familiarity with the tools of analysis of 20th century political communication history. It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, not articulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of 20th century political communication history. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the instruments of 20th century political communication history. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability to analyse 20th century political communication history.


Teaching tools

Powerpoint presentations

Office hours

See the website of Riccardo Brizzi