Communication Studies (CMNS) 401

Cultural Policy in Canada (Revision 4)

CMNS 401 Course image

Revision 4 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study (check availability).

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: CMNS 301 and CMNS 302 are recommended but not required.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Communication Studies home page

CMNS 401 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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CMNS 401 surveys the historical development of federal arts policy and the related ideals of national culture. It uses this framework to discuss expanded perceptions of “culture” as social expression and the role of government policy in a diverse society. Finally, the course offers detailed studies of the interaction between symbolic and economic environments in key cultural industries.


Part I: Framing National Culture—The State and the Arts

  • Unit 1: Introduction: Cultural Politics and Institutions
  • Unit 2: The Beginnings: The Aird Commission (1929) and Ideals of Public Service
  • Unit 3: Toward the Present: Massey-Lévesque (1951), Applebaum-Hébert (1982), and the Role of the Arts
  • Unit 4: Social Dimensions: Diversity, Heritage, and Cultural Politics

Part II: Cultural Industries

  • Unit 5: Cultural Industries, Economic Policies, and International Contexts
  • Unit 6: Publishing and Cultural Protectionism
  • Unit 7: Popular and Commercial Culture: Canadian Content in a Mixed System
  • Unit 8: Broadcasting and the Public Interest
  • Unit 9: Film

Part III: The Information Highway: Policy in Motion

  • Unit 10: Digital Media and Citizenship
  • Unit 11: Convergence (A): Telecommunications and Beyond
  • Unit 12: Convergence (B): Ownership, Ethics, and Globalization


To receive credit for CMNS 401, you must complete all assignments and obtain a minimum composite course grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assign. 1 (after Part I) Assign. 2 (after Part II) Assign. 3 (after Part III- outline) Term Paper (after Part III- final draft) Total
15% 35% 10% 40% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Note: Weighting in grouped-study offerings may be altered to accommodate a classwork component.

Course Materials


Dorland, M. (ed.). The Cultural Industries in Canada: Problems, Policies and Prospects. Toronto: Lorimer, 1996.

Other materials

The course materials also include a student manual/study guide, and a reading file.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the CMNS 401 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Part I: Take home essay exam Part II: Paper exam Total
40% 60% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Current Grouped Study Locations

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, April 17, 2014.

View previous syllabus