Critical Information Policy Studies (CIPS) concentration

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Effective September 2014 the Critical Information Studies concentration will be formally renamed Critical Information Policy Studies.

Information for students who entered the program in September 2012 or before is available here.

Information on this page:

About changes to the MI program as of November 2012

The information on this page incorporates changes that were made to the MI program in November 2012.  These changes apply to students who will be entering the MI program from September 2013 onward.  Students who entered the program in September 2012 or before:  please refer to the program requirements as they existed prior to the November 2012 changes here.

About Critical Information Policy Studies

Concentration liaison: Prof. Siobhan Stevenson

In the CIPS concentration, information is understood not as a pre-existing entity to be stored, managed, or accessed. Instead, students will become familiar with methods and theories that address how information is created, used, and transformed, in practice and in context.  A focus on the material processes and practices of contemporary society is intended to promote engagement and intervention in these practices, from a variety of professional and social positions.

Students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the relationships between information and social transformation or entrenchment
  • Develop an understanding of the mutual relationships between information systems and their political, economic, historical, and cultural contexts
  • Learn to evaluate how choices about information systems affect the growth and development of institutions, and vice versa
  • Learn about the critical perspectives and methods used to acknowledge and encompass cultural and social differences
  • Acquire an understanding about how information processes are useful in the constitution of social subjectivities

Video:  Professor Matt Ratto unpacks the CIPS/CIS concentration.

Concentration requirements

Two core quarter courses (0.5 FCE total):

Five required half courses (2.5 FCEs):

  1. INF1001H  Knowledge and Information in Society
  2. INF2181H  Information Policy, Regulation, and Law 
  3. INF2240H  Political Economy and Cultural Studies of Information
  4. INF2242H  Studying Information and Knowledge Practices
  5. INF2243H  Critical Histories of Information and Communication Technologies

Two year course sequence (PDF format):    

Suggested elective courses:

  • INF2124H  Surveillance and Identity
  • INF2125H  Information and Culture in a Global Context
  • INF2142H  Theories of Classification and Knowledge Organization
  • INF2155H  The Public Library in the Community: Developing a Critical Practice
  • INF2167H  Community Informatics
  • INF2221H  Digital Divides and Information Professionals: Developing a Critical Practice
  • INF2241H  Critical Making
  • INF2305H  Special Topics: Communication and Social Change
  • INF2320H  Remix Culture
  • INF2331H  The Future of the Book
  • KMD2004H  Social Issues in Information and Communications Technologies