Digital Production

When Tomatoes Polarize: A Student Documentary from COMM 189H

In the Fall of 2013, I had the pleasure of teaching COMM 189H, a course I titled “In Search of the Common: Rhetorics of Extremism, Moderation, and Polarization.” The course engaged in the study of a number of themes, from the history and virtues of moderation, to rhetorical scholarship in the wake of the tumult of the 1960s, to the impact of internetworked technologies on public discourse, and critiques of civility. Much like when I taught the course in the Fall of 2010, I worked with the students to research, write, storyboard, edit, film, and produce a documentary which ultimately was titled “In Search of the Common: When Tomatoes Polarize.” (The subtitle references a gonzo-style experiment in which we tried to polarize students outside the union against tomatoes–a cause near and dear to my heart.)

This year, in addition to the documentary, we maintained a blog which featured regular student writing on the course themes, and a podcast series where we archived interviews with various experts that helped us sort through some of these big ideas.