Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Advertising & Contemporary Culture

Faculty Course Type Credits Prerequisites Semester
Prof. Anita Patankar Elective 4 None Any

 Brief Overview 

Advertising is part of an extremely sophisticated system of corporate communications that is embedded within and acted upon by contemporary culture. It has the power to shape consciousness and makes firm and definitive statements about culturally ‘normal’ and desirable relationships and behaviour. Advertising thus plays an important role in helping people form ideas about themselves and their social relationships.

This course aims at helping students study the phenomenon of corporate communications in general and advertising in specific. It will expose them to different schools of thought related to culture and the specific culture of consumption. It will also explore the power we believe advertising possesses and it’s positive and negative implications on the life we lead.

The course will introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of advertising and cultural studies. The course will largely take a critical perspective after briefly outlining the history of advertising and the concept of culture. 

 Course Objectives 

  • Develop critical thinking competencies for understanding modern / popular culture
  • Gain critical perspective on the power of advertising
  • Increase ability to comprehend complex and abstract argumentation
  • Increase writing and presentation skills

 Teaching Methodology 

This course is a class discussion based course, where students come to class having read the assigned readings and discuss the ideas and themes presented in the reading. Other teaching and assessment tools include class leads, where a group of two / three students lead the entire class discussion. Other teaching methodologies include screening of ad films and writing of response papers immediately after that in class. Students will also write a research paper and a term paper on a topic of their choice.


Students are required to keep up with the assigned reading, attend lectures, participate in discussions, and successfully complete the assignments on time. Assignments are expected at the beginning of the specified class and presentations / class leads cannot be postponed.