MA in Global Communications Fashion Track

Fashion is a global cultural phenomenon and a vast and expanding professional field and industry. Paris remains an important focus globally and the Fashion Track within the MA Global Communications takes advantage of this privileged position to provide on-location experiential learning opportunities in a diverse and dynamic academic setting.

Fashion has always been a passion of mine, but AUP has the perfect program to turn my passion into a career.

Alexandra Swies Alumna '14
A Hybrid Subject & Rich Professional Opportunity

Graduating from the Fashion Track you will have developed a deep understanding of fashion as a socio-cultural phenomenon and gained insights into the fashion industry –  critical, creative and transferable skills to build a career in fashion-related professions and the wider field of communications.

  • fashion communication – creatively, effectively and responsibly communicating fashion in the digital age
  • global fashion – decentralized and de-hierarchized fashion studies and practices
  • fashion cultures – curating objects, ideas and spaces
  • sustainability in fashion – assessment and development of practices and potentialities
  • fashion business – innovative marketing, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship

The study of fashion is situated at the crossroad of a number of disciplines: art, art history, business, communications, cultural studies, design, economics, gender studies, history, literature, material culture studies, philosophy, politics, psychology, semiotics and sociology. In its liberal arts focus and multi-disciplinary departmental structure AUP provides the perfect setting for Fashion Studies, where creative and critical thinking, reading, writing, analytical, visual and digital skills are at the core of teaching.

At AUP fashion is studied as object and idea, as image and film, as space and place. Fashion studies is an established (if still young) academic discipline allowing students to decipher the political, economic, social and cultural evolution of our contemporary world. Throughout the degree, you will have the opportunity to engage with specific issues alongside visiting professionals and scholars at the top of their fields. Speakers have included researchers, designers, curators, brand managers, journalists, PR specialists and social entrepreneurs to explore topics ranging from diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, activism, and sustainability to multi-media communication, trend forecasting and new retail. At AUP you will also become part of a global network of fashion scholars and professionals through a series of transnational collaborations and events.

A Hybrid Program

Balancing critical thinking, creativity, communication skills and industry insight, the program offers a comprehensive education within this diverse professional field. As a student you will have the chance to expand your understanding of subjects including:

Coursework and Research Masters

The MA in Global Communications, Fashion Track can be completed over three to four semesters, including the summer. The length of the internship or thesis may vary, however – many students choose to take additional time for these components. The program offers an extensive range of classes blending theory and practice. You also have a choice of practica in sustainable development, branding, international public relations, in NGOs, and modules in social media, digital communications, the media industry, and branding among others.

Alongside the core course of Global Communications, students taking the Fashion Track will be able to choose from electives on topics including:

CM5002 Brands And Belief

This course examines the evolution of critical advertising and brand analysis with a particular emphasis on learning how people come to identify with and believe in brands. It includes an analysis of how brands work as systems for producing differences between themselves by creating imaginary possible worlds associated with brands. Students learn tools of semiotic and linguistic analysis in analyzing brands and how they relate to each other. Each student completes a communications audit of a brand examining all aspects of its communicative strategies from package design to employee behavior, clothing, architecture, and shop design. The course will also examine how branding now has extended beyond consumer brands to such areas as NGOs and politics (political parties as brands and politicians as brands).

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CM5004 Global Digital Cultures

This course provides an introduction to key topics and theories in the study of the Internet and other digital media as cultural and social phenomena. Four main themes guide our approach: space and networks; bodies and identities; objects and practices; and economics and politics. Within the contexts of globalization, we will place particular emphasis on interrogating transformations made possible by the pervasion of digital media, but also restrictions and contestations that arise. Students will develop their individual interests in relevant topics with an independent research project.

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CM5005 Identity Formation In A Transnat'l World

This course examines the theories of self and identity formation in a globalized world where traditional techniques of identity formation coming from religions and schools and family are being supplemented or changed by techniques coming from other cultures and countries. Some of these ways of self-identification are influenced by consumerism, advertising and media. Some are influenced by traditional physical and moral training or globalized martial arts. Some are influenced by the implantation of psychological and therapeutic techniques from the West. Others are linked to the circulation of techniques of self-formation from yoga, tai chi, and kabala that have been taken out of their traditional contexts and globalized, mediatized and modernized. This course looks at people who seek to make and define themselves in various different local contexts. It will also examine the rise of religious fundamentalism, its appeal to youth, and how it uses media. The course also looks at the role of media, institutions and advertising consumer culture in this process.

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CM5016 Digital Advocacy: Within/ Without Borders

This course analyzes the rhetorical-cultural aspects of global advocacy, such as how to fashion persuasion that speaks to multiple national, ethnic, religious and political audiences about issues of transnational importance and which have the same or similar persuasive goals. Case studies will be used to move back and forth between theory and practice, where studying the practice will inform the theory, and vice-versa. The course will answer important questions for global advocates.

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CM5018 Digital Tools In Context

This theory/practice hybrid course will enable students to build a foundation of practical digital skills while critically exploring how they are implemented. Students will develop competence with a selection of data tools and be prepared for greater digital literacy. In parallel, the use of these digital tools will be problematized in relation to recent cultural, economic and political transformations.

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CM5022 Place Branding

The course focuses on place branding and its role in destination marketing, civil society development, public and political diplomacy and social and environmental sustainability. Topics include: travel and globalization; branding and competitive identity; heritage, memory and ecological tourism; mediated travel involving photography, mobile phones, social media; media and cinema inspired travel; food cultures; and the drive to experience and communicate "other spaces."

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CM5025 Communication & The Global Public Sphere

This course focuses on the concept of the/a public. Discusses how media and political actors rhetorically constitute the public; how they (and occasionally governments) constitute “public spaces”(virtual and material) in which public discourse takes place, and how institutional and technological forces constitute “public opinion” and articulate “the public interest.” On the other hand, we will consider how political economy of media and social practices facilitate or stifle spaces, political actors, and publics. The course will also compare contemporary manifestations of public-making with Habermas’s theory of the public sphere, which he thought was an area of social life vital to a legitimate democracy. The potentiality, control, and use of new communication technologies are explored in relation to the existence and future of a global public sphere.

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CM5026 Politics & Economics Of Global Media

This course examines the dynamics of the global media system. Students will gain a critical awareness of how international flows of information, entertainment and lifestyle values play a powerful role in shaping cultural and political realities. The concept of "soft power" is key in examining the influence of Western pop culture, whether as "imperialism" or as "globalization". The course examines soft power in various forms: Hollywood movies, television series, pop music, Disney cartoons, fast food such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds, and social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The course also analyzes the influence of non-Anglo-American pop culture — from Turkish soap operas to Latin American "telenovelas".

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CM5033 Material Culture & Values

This course will first define essential aspects of the material and analyse different theoretical approaches to the study of material culture. We will then investigate how ‘stuff’of material culture (landscapes, objects, clothing, paraphernalia of the everyday environment) mediates contemporary identity in the context of a globalised culture and examine how the interplay between design, form, and function is represented by media as embodying cultural value. We will reflect on the nature of consumption, consider the politics of value of commodities, and explore how media are transformed into signs of global material culture.

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CM5037 The Museum As Medium

The origins of the contemporary "museum" can be seen in the rage for collecting unique and unusual objects which characterized the Renaissance and the age of exploration. Possession of such objects conveyed not only the power and wealth of the collector, but also displayed the collector's intellectual and aesthetic preferences to a selected audience, thus simultaneously confirming the identities of both collector and spectators as members of a privileged group. In the Age of Enlightenment and the Encyclopedia, the classification and organization of facts and objects - both intellectual property and material culture - gave birth to the concept of the modern 'museum'. This course investigates the construction and communication of national, cultural, and community identities and diverse definitions of heritage through the medium of the contemporary museum, where material culture is exhibited and organized to express verbal and visual narratives that evoke particular interpretations of history and values. Lectures and discussions will alternate with museum visits in which museum display and techniques of exhibition are identified and analysed. Issues of visitor participation, the museum experience, digital tools, websites and virtual visits will be considered. Several guest lectures by professionals will expand upon contemporary museum issues. Please note that an additional fee will be charged for this course.

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CM5053 Development Communications

This course provides an introduction to ‘Development Communications’ and to the communication practices that promote development, material change and social justice. The course explores the historical development of the field and the fundamental theories and figures and disciplines- from international development to mass communications-that have defined it as a distinct area of communications study and practice. Through numerous case studies, students explore intercultural and interpersonal communication on local, regional, national and global levels and examine numerous examples of development communications campaigns and civic media focusing on issues of public health, education, women’s empowerment, fair trade, and environmental, economic and cultural sustainability.

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CM5062 Digital Media Writing Practicum

This course will create a “newsroom” setting encouraging critical thinking about the media. The course will examine how the Internet has revolutionized journalism, story telling, and the media industries more generally. Students will study, analyze and discuss these trends as well as write about particular issues – thus developing their own voices and “brands” as writers and media professionals. Students will maintain blogs and their work will be published and curated on the student media website where they will appear as blogger/columnists. Another component of the course will emphasize career development: each student will produce a professional-grade online profile and portfolio through blogs and social networks

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CM5063 Sustainable Development Practicum

How does communication work as local government bodies, civil-society actors and NGOs put together sustainable development initiatives? How can communication be made to work better? Cutting across disciplines, this practicum allows students to see individuals, groups and communities in collaboration (and sometimes conflict) in a South Asian context marked by the 2004 tsunami. Based in the international eco-community of Auroville (Tamil Nadu, south-east India), students will explore substantive areas including micro-credit, health care with special reference to HIV/Aids, socially responsible business and environmental management. On-site visits and team-work are central to the course, leading to the production of multi-media reports on the interface between communication, development and sustainability. This course has an extra course fee - to guage an estimated cost, the fee was approximately 1600 euros.

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CM5066 Branding Practicum

Brands, their creation, their identity and their management derive from a set of disciplines and principles that have been developed over the past 60 years. These disciplines are the architectural underpinnings for successful branding and they apply equally across categories of products and services and geographically across countries. The Branding Practicum will instruct students in these disciplines and principles and ask students to apply them to the creation of a new international brand in a category of their choice. Students will analyze a chosen category, create a new brand proposition for it, develop the branding identity for the new brand including name, logo, selling proposition and more. They will also create a global marketing strategy for the brand.

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CM5067 Advertising Practicum

The development of effective advertising is an intellectual and creative process that has evolved over the past century and includes the disciplines of research, targeting, strategy, strategy derived creative execution and evaluation. Today, the form and content of advertising is changing as the digital age opens new channels and types of messages. The Advertising Practicum will instruct students in the real world creation of effective advertising. Students will learn “the creation process” from start to finish, develop strategies and create advertising campaigns. Finally, they will compete to win an international brand’s advertising account by solving a strategic and creative challenge facing that brand just as it is done in the advertiser/ advertising agency industry worldwide. At the course’s end, students should have completed an advertising exercise that they can present to future employers as an aid to securing a job of their choice.

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CM5069 Internat'l Public Relations Practicum

Public relations (PR) is now an integral part of everyday life. From politicians to playgroups, it is an important tool that can mean the difference between success and failure of a project or product. Effective PR is a key requirement of most companies and organisations and this course is designed to provide students with the necessary background knowledge to allow them to begin a career in this area and/or to improve their general business communication skills. The course outlines different types, practices, and principles of public relations. It looks at key frameworks and developments in PR theory and practice, offering a straightforward combination of theory and case studies. In an increasingly global context, it is also imperative to take into account the international and intercultural perspectives of PR.

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CM5070 Media, Gender & Globalization

This class studies in detail the relations between media, gender and sexuality in a complex global environment. We will build on a theoretical foundation of gender in terms of embodiment, representation, consumption and institutions, and apply various methods of analysis to a range of global media. We will examine how gender enters debates around globalization, including anti-globalization movements, and how constructions of gender influence the mediation of global issues such as nationality, war and terrorism, and transnational flows of people, culture and capital.

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CM5080 Visual Design Practicum

This course is an intensive introduction to the basics of design principles for a variety of communications strategies. Through hands-on lab time with step-by-step instruction, students will learn the fundamentals of working with Adobe Creative Suite in order to create their own brand and its accompanying visuals. Presentations by professionals working in various fields of design and communications will familiarize students with their first-hand experience. Design literacy is essential to all areas of communication, whether in traditional print, digital media, websites or video. This class will focus specifically on the relationship between image and text, providing students with a solid foundation for any further study of graphics or web design they may wish to undertake in the future, as well as training students to interact effectively with professional designers.. The class will be comprised of lecturers on the fundamentals of design, presentations by and workshops with working professionals, and hands-on lab time to learn practical technical skills as applied to students’ individual branding projects. It suits students who plan to work in advertising, NGOs, branding, global advocacy or any other field of communications. Design literacy is an essential skill, indispensable for the effective communication of any organization’s message. Students will gain appreciation of graphic design; learning how typography color, composition, photography, illustration, etc. work together to produce effective conduits of information.

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CM5091 Topics In Global Communication

Topics change each semester- see the current Academic Schedule for current course descriptions.

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