John M. Culkin SJ, PhD (1928-1993), leading media scholar, critic, educator, writer & consultant.

This is an important essay that was published in the Saturday Review, March 18, 1967, that helped introduce Marshall McLuhan and his ideas to a wider North American audience and especially educators. It introduced the quotation “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us” that for a long time was widely attributed to McLuhan while it was actually written by John Culkin based on an idea that probably originated from McLuhan. Here are the first two paragraphs and part the third paragraph of the essay:

By JOHN M. CULKIN, S.J., director of the Center for Communications, Fordham University

EDUCATION, a seven-year-old assures me, is “how kids learn stuff.” Few definitions are as satisfying. It includes all that is essential—a who, a what, and a process. It excludes all the people, places, and things which are only sometimes involved in learning. The economy and accuracy of the definition, however, are more useful in locating the problem than in solving it. We know little enough about kids, less about learning, and considerably more than we would like to know about stuff. 

In addition, the whole process of formal schooling is now wrapped inside an environment of speeded-up technological change which is constantly influencing kids and learning and stuff. The jet-speed of this technological revolution, especially in the area of communications, has left us with more reactions to it than reflections about it. Meanwhile back at the school, the student, whose psyche is being programed [sic] for tempo, information, and relevance by his electronic environment, is still being processed in classrooms operating on the postulates of another day. The cold war existing between these two worlds is upsetting for both the student and the schools. One thing is certain: It is hardly a time for educators to plan with nostalgia, timidity, or old formulas.
Enter Marshall McLuhan. 

He enters from the North, from the University of Toronto where he teaches English and is director of the Center for Culture and Technology. He enters with the reputation as “the oracle of the electric age” and as “the most provocative and controversial writer of this generation.” More importantly for the schools, he enters as a man with fresh eyes, with new ways of looking at old problems. He is a man who gets his ideas first and judges them later. Most of these ideas are summed up in his book, Understanding Media

Please read the rest of this article, and in fact you can download a pdf of the first 3 pages of the article, from here: https://goo.gl/zCC32M 

 

However, to download the section of the Saturday Review that contains pages 70 to 72 that complete the Culkin article, download the pdf that contains those pages from here: https://goo.gl/z5DVF4

Culkin’s “tools shape us” quote is near the beginning of the continuation of the article on page 70:
3) Life imitates art. We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us. These extensions of our senses begin to interact with our senses. These media become a massage. The new change in the environment creates a new balance among the senses. No sense operates in isolation. The full sensorium seeks fulfillment in almost every sense experience. And since there is a limited quantum of energy available for any sensory experience, the sense-ratio will differ for different media…

Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (1936) – “We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us”.

See also on this blog “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us” at https://goo.gl/pnVZFi

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Dear Friends,

We are happy to team up with the Glenn Gould Foundation and celebrate the 85th anniversary of Glenn Gould’s birth. On Sept. 23 at 2:30 p.m., the Glenn Gould Foundation, with the support of the Toronto Symphony, will be presenting Prof. Joshua Cohen of Apple University as he gives his specially created multimedia presentation on Gould’s Variations and the Human Qualities that Give Rise to Remarkable Creativity.

Join us to celebrate Glenn Gould!
Further details and registration below. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Cheers!
Paolo Granata
http://thetorontoschool.ca

THE GLENN GOULD FOUNDATION …

Gould’s Variations and the Human Qualities that Foster Remarkable Creativity

Join us on September 23rd for an inspiring presentation in which Apple University’s Prof. Joshua Cohen discusses Glenn Gould’s artistry and his ceaseless pursuit of perfection.

Glenn Gould, the greatest pianist of the past century, thought that musical performance has an ethical importance: it aims at an experience of ecstasy, which creates a sense of distance from the world. Drawing on a presentation he gives to executives at Apple, using illustrations from Gould’s work, Joshua Cohen will discuss the meaning of this ethical ideal, explain how Gould’s 1982 recording of the Goldberg Variations reflects this ambitious aspiration for musical performance, and explore the human qualities that foster remarkable creativity.

September 23, 2017 – 2:30 PM

Glenn Gould Studio
250 Front Street West, Toronto, ON

TICKETS Starting at $25

Go here https://goo.gl/JwoUfQ

Read more on Prof. Cohen and his work on Gould:

  • Maclean’s Magazine
  • CBC News
  • Musical Toronto

 


Presented by the St. Michael’s College – the McLuhan’s intellectual home in the University of Toronto – and its popular Book & Media Studies program, in conjunction with the Estate of Marshall McLuhan and several high-level academic and cultural institutions, a new series of McLuhan Salons takes place from September 2017 to April 2018 in different dynamic city locations further dissolving the boundaries of the university and the city in bringing the multi-disciplinary multi-practice approaches to bear made famous by Marshall McLuhan.

For this Inaugural Salon we have teamed up with MomenTO – Toronto’s Heritage of Innovation. Join us to kick-off the series!

Thursday, 14 September 2017, 7:00 PM

At Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street, Toronto)

The Twin Legacies of Marshall McLuhan and CityTV

While Marshall McLuhan’s students at the University of Toronto were learning that “the medium is the message” in the 1960s, down on Queen Street West a decade later a team of people were experimenting with a new kind of television. Over the last forty years, CityTV has changed the way the news is reported, brought music videos to Canadian youth, and given us “Speaker’s Corner”. During its heyday in the 1980s and 90s, the station’s mix of innovative programming and its depictions of a young, urban, multicultural Toronto were delivered with a distinctive visual style and occasionally cheeky tone.

Special guest: Michael McLuhan

Join distinguished speaker Ira Wagman (Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication) for a discussion that brings together the legacies of Marshall McLuhan and CityTV as two of Toronto’s innovators in the world of media and communication.
Special guest: Michael McLuhan.

This event is presented by the University of St. Michael’s College, Book & Media Studies Program at the University of Toronto, in conjunction with MomenTO: Toronto’s Heritage of Innovation. We are grateful for the support of Artscape Wychwood Barns, as our venue partner.

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The McLuhan Salon series is generously supported by the William and Nona Heaslip Foundation.
MomenTO is produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario’s Ontario 150 Program and the Government of Canada. We are grateful for the support of Artscape Wychwood Barns, as our venue partner.

The event is free and open to the public. You are encouraged to register online.

Register Now


Rough translation of the title:

The science project of the new Marshall McLuhan: The philosophical consequences of changing forms of communication 

By Bartlomiej Knosala

The author attended the Media Ecology Association conference at St. Mary’s College of California, near San Francisco, this past June where he presented a paper and kindly gave me a copy of his book. It is available for sale here for anyone interested: https://goo.gl/Zq7NMf

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Between science and art: Marshall McLuhan’s Theory and Practice of Art 

By Dr. Kalina Kukiełko-Rogozińska

Based on her dissertation, it was published by the National Center for Culture in Poland and received a prestigious award from the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS).

The author in her dissertation analyzed the principal media theories of Canadian Professor Marshall McLuhan, who is now considered to be one of the most prominent media scholars. In addition to systematizing McLuhan’s ideas, Kukiełko-Rogozińska also presents a profile of this prominent media studies scholar. (Source https://goo.gl/VZ1orU ).

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See also the following published on this blog on August 16, 2017: The First Polish Translation of The Gutenberg Galaxy Just Published at https://goo.gl/VDPpuv .


McLuhan’s “challenge and collapse: the nemesis of creativity”

July 27, 2014   –   Billy Caba, 1995

In McLuhan’s “challenge and collapse: The nemesis of creativity” [Chapter 7 of Understanding Media] he talks about Bertrand Russell’s “technique of suspended judgment” in the first paragraph. He also compares this to A.N. Whitehead’s “technique of discovery”. Both believed that these were the great discoveries of the 20th century. The “technique of discovery” basically means that whatever someone is trying to discover, they work backward until they get to the very essence of what that is. At first, this was pretty confusing but the example that McLuhan gave helps a lot. For instance, in art, you start off with an effect or an emotion. And then you keep adding to the art work so that it resembles that emotion or effect. The “technique of suspended judgment” as McLuhan put it, goes further. This technique predicts certain outcomes. The example that McLuhan gives is that an unhappy childhood can produce an unhappy adult. 

Connecting this with technology you can see how taming fire can result in a furnace being created; where it can either heat a home, make weapons such as swords, or just cook food.

When it comes down to trying to understand these concepts, I began to realize that I was doing the same thing that A.N Whitehead and Bertrand Russell were doing. They are simply trying to better understand technology and where it comes from. They are trying to better understand the human condition in regards to technology just like I am trying to understand them.

Throughout human history, human beings have constantly been inventing new technologies but also asking questions about that technology and how it changes us. Which is understandable; since the biggest thing separating our species from other animals is our use and creation of technology. The “technique of discovery” and the “technique of suspended judgment” are the techniques used to simply better understand the world we have created around us.

These concepts were created in the 20th century where human interaction and effect on the world was more apparent than ever. A.N. Whitehead was searching for where technology came from where Bertrand Russell’s wanted to predict where technology was going. But like I stated before, the two, as well as McLuhan, are simply trying to better understand the human relationship with technology. Source: https://goo.gl/L8YPYs

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The Technique of Suspended Judgement – was further explained by McLuhan in a speech at the Learned Societies Canada conference in Montreal in June 1961.

“A. N. Whitehead pointed to the discovery of the nineteenth century as the discovery of the technique of invention. Bertrand Russell pointed to the great achievement of the twentieth century as the technique of suspended judgement. That is, the discovery of the process of insight itself, the technique of avoiding the automatic closure or involuntary fixing of attitudes that so easily results from any given cultural situation – The technique of open field perception. Both the discovery of the method of invention and the discovery of the technique of insight not only concern scientists but humanists, and have been freely used by both of what C. P. Snow calls the two cultures. So much so, indeed, that the resonant statistic of about 95% of the greatest scientists of human history now being alive may apply equally to poets, painters and philosophers”… Source: https://goo.gl/jLW6ov 

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)


By Cait Etherington  –  July 21, 2017

 McLuhan Despised Traditional Education

“To expect a ‘turned on’ child of the electric age to respond to the old education modes is rather like expecting an eagle to swim. It’s simply not within his environment, and therefore incomprehensible.”

McLuhan was a writer and critic, but he was also an educator. For decades, McLuhan taught at the University of Toronto, which is among Canada’s oldest and most prestigious universities. While a respected faculty member, McLuhan was by no means the institution’s most conventional professor, and he certainly didn’t hold back when it came to voicing his opinions on the current state of education. In a still frequently cited interview with Playboy Magazine first published in 1969, McLuhan complained:

“Our entire educational system is reactionary, oriented to past values and past technologies, and will likely continue so until the old generation relinquishes power. The generation gap is actually a chasm, separating not two age groups but two vastly divergent cultures. I can understand the ferment in our schools, because our educational system is totally rearview mirror. It’s a dying and outdated system founded on literate values and fragmented and classified data totally unsuited to the needs of the first television generation.”

However, McLuhan wasn’t necessarily pessimistic about education’s future. Indeed, unlike many of his contemporaries, he believed that new technologies, including television, could be used to fix what he saw as the education systems’ most entrenched problems. But he emphasized, “Before we can start doing things the right way, we’ve got to recognize that we’ve been doing them the wrong way.” The “wrong way,” according to McLuhan was rote learning. The right was a self-driven, interactive, and technologically enhanced approach to education that would engage all a learners’ senses.

McLuhan’s 1960s’ Vision for Electronic Learning

McLuhan teaching at the University of Toronto.

While the idea of eLearning was still in its infancy in the 1960s (this was the decade when PLATO, arguably the world’s first eLearning experiment, was developed and first launched), McLuhan had a clear vision for education’s future. He believed that to fix education, we needed fewer teachers, more technology, and most importantly, a more positive outlook on technology. A historian by training, McLuhan appreciated that in many respects, education hadn’t changed much since the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in the late 15th century. To reach today’s students, we needed to stop relying on primarily visual modes of delivery and create multi-sensory, interactive student-driven learning environments. Without using the term eLearning, he even appeared to predict how this education might begin to take shape.

Asked if he would educate his own children in a school, McLuhan, who in fact had six children, told Playboy, “Certainly not in our current schools, which are intellectual penal institutions. In today’s world, to paraphrase Jefferson, the least education is the best education, since very few young minds can survive the intellectual tortures of our educational system.” So, what was McLuhan’s solution? Could “electronic educational aids” help? According to McLuhan, such tools could help but not without a 360 shift in attitude. It is not enough to put TVs in classrooms, he insisted:

We have to ask what TV can do, in the instruction of English or physics or any other subject, that the classroom cannot do as presently constituted. The answer is that TV can deeply involve youth in the process of learning, illustrating graphically the complex interplay of people and events, the development of forms, the multileveled interrelationships between and among such arbitrarily segregated subjects as biology, geography, mathematics, anthropology, history, literature and languages.

Here, it is important to remember that for McLuhan, television was not a passive medium but rather an active one and one that even brought people across great distances together. In many ways, it is in his optimism about television that one encounters his most fascinating and accurate predictions about the electronic age and future of education.

Why McLuhan Would Have Loved MOOCs

There is no question that had McLuhan lived to be 106, he likely would have been an early adopter of MOOCs. First, McLuhan loved an audience and the larger the better. In the 1960s and 1970s, he appeared on dozens of talk shows and news programs and even once appeared as himself in the famous Woody Allen film Annie Hall. Second, McLuhan would have loved the fact that with MOOCs, learners can work at their own pace and using a variety of mediums that engage different types of senses. Finally, and most notably, McLuhan, who coined the term “Global Village,” would have supported MOOCs as a way to bring together learners from around the globe. He may have even considered MOOCs part of what he envisioned as a necessary “retribalization” process in education and society.

While McLuhan remains a controversial figure in media studies and education, it is difficult to deny his ongoing influence. As he once explained, “If we don’t adapt our educational system to [today’s youths’] needs and values, we will see only more dropouts and more chaos.” This was clearly something he got right and on this basis, it also seems likely that had McLuhan reached the ripe old age of 106, eLearning and perhaps, especially eLearning on a massive scale (as seen in MOOCs) would have been one current trend in education to which he lent his full support.

Source: https://goo.gl/FvC5Zw

On the Other Hand: McLuhan’s Reservations About the Electric World

“Discarnate man, according to McLuhan, was electronic man, the human being used to talking to other humans hundreds of miles away on the telephone, used to having people invade his living room and his nervous system via the television set. Discarnate man had absorbed the fact that he could be present, minus his body, in many different places simultaneously, through electronics. His self was no longer his physical body so much as it was an image or pattern of information, inhabiting a world of other images and other patterns of information.”

The effect of this reality was to give discarnate man an overwhelming affinity for ‘a world between fantasy and dream’ and a ‘typically hypnotic state,’ in which he was totally involved in the play of images and information, like a small child fascinated by a kaleidoscope. Psychically, discarnate man suffered a breakdown between his consciousness and his unconscious…

… This destruction of private, personal identity was the unexpected – and toxic – side-effect of the integrated sensuous life McLuhan had happily proclaimed in the early sixties. Now he saw several unpleasant consequences. The children who experienced this destruction were incapable of civilized pursuits”… (From Marchand, P. Marshall (1989). McLuhan: The Medium & the Messenger. Toronto: Random House of Canada, p. 249.)

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“The global village is populated with ‘discarnate’ human beings who no longer exist as physical presences; instead the electronic or discarnate person is simply an image or an information pattern, nothing more … “- Marshall McLuhan

“The effects of discarnate existence are intricate and complex, for if the discarnate world is one of high involvement, it is also a world of profound irony and intellectual distancing. This paradox has to be seen to some extent as a consequence of living at the intersection between participation with the electronic media on the one hand, and the decline of an older, private identity on the other. The electronic world, which McLuhan suggests has retrieved myth and simultaneity, has also displaced private personal identity and thus erased some of the older typographical qualities of seriousness, clarity, linearity and the value of public discourse.

Many of the results of the tension of this paradox are discomforting. We are courted with images. We know at some level that we are being lied to by the advertising images that we consume and that much of televisual information is decontextualized and fragmented. We even congratulate ourselves on our ability to see through the hokum of PR image management. We pride ourselves on our mental superiority. At the same time, our direct and intense involvement with images makes us vulnerable to its exhortations. Unlike discursive language, images do not make arguments or state propositions; they convey a mood, a feeling, a sense of well or ill-being without a clear cut articulation of any issues. The image world is essentially ironic. Like other forms of irony, images say what they do not entirely mean. Nobody is obliged to take them literally, and this creates a false sense of detachment. It is a paradoxical form of perception which can be identified as detached involvement. Images make us think we are detached when we feel highly involved.” – Joe Galbo (Communication, York University, Toronto), “McLuhan and Baudrillard: Notes on the Discarnate, Simulations and Tetrads” in McLUHAN STUDIES: Explorations in Culture and Communication, Vol.1, No.1, 1991, p.105
Source: McLuhan on Maui – https://goo.gl/b5bGS


Into the Maelstrom: How the Hyperconnected Age is Tearing Us Apart

By Jamie Stantonian   –   August 16, 2017

“Xerox or xerograpy enables the reader to become a publisher, and this is an important aspect of electric circuitry. The audience is increasingly involved in the process. With print, the audience was detached, observant, but not involved. With circuitry, the reader, the audience becomes involved in itself and in the process of publishing. The future of the book is very much in the order of book as information service.”

Information would become personalized, as one would “phone up” a service and say the type of subject you were interested in knowing, and you’d be sent a “xerox” bundle personally compiled and curated for you as an individual. He also could see that the mass media was making the world smaller, coining the phrase the “global village,” prophesying electronic media (as he called it) would have a “retribalizing” effect on us by shifting us back to oral rather than literate cultural patterns. While the idea of the global village has practically entered the common tongue, one lesser known metaphor ran through all of his work but perhaps summed up his thinking more totally; the Maelstrom. The term was drawn from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, A Descent into the Maelstrom in which three fishermen were sucked into a gargantuan whirlpool while out at sea, and describes how they tried to escape the monstrosity:

“At first only saw hideous terror in the spectacle. In a moment of revelation, he saw that the Maelstrom is a beautiful and awesome creation. Observing how objects around him were pulled into it, he deduced that ‘the larger the bodies, the more rapid their descent.””

 Poe 1848

For McLuhan saw the mass media as a titanic vortex pulling society towards new forms of behaviours — new ways of being — that threatened to completely overwhelm or even destroy it.

In the electric age, the fluid nature of information and the sheer amount of it thwarted our attempts at top-down classification methods so characteristic of literate culture. His hopes that like the sailor protagonist of the poem, that if we now study the perturbations and “configurations” of the mass media, we can make sense of it and devise a way escape its centripetal pull.

“The huge vortices of energy created by our media present us with similar possibilities of evasion or consequences of destruction. By studying the patterns of the effects of this huge vortex of energy in which we are involved, it may be possible to program a strategy of evasion and survival.”

At the same time McLuhan was captivating television audiences with his often cryptic prophesies and ideas, the political scientist Simon Herbert was discussing the evolving landscape of communication technology from a less poetic, but perhaps more practical perspective. When he coined the phrase “attention economy” in the early 70s, about 18 computers were attached to the internet. But even though the internet was still in its infancy, he could see how the growth of global mass media and cheap publishing were putting an increasing strain on our ability to collect and process information, writing that:

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

Read the rest of this essay at https://goo.gl/kzw29N


Galaktyka Gutenberga, the first Polish translation of The Gutenberg Galaxy

The first Polish translation of Marshall McLuhan’s The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) has just been published in Poland by Narodowe Centrum Kultury (National Cultural Centre), demonstrating that, although McLuhan might not now be making waves culturally as he did in the 1960s, he is at least continuing to make ripples.

Here is the short announcement in Polish, followed by an English translation:

Galaktyka Gutenberga należy do kanonu tych książek, które powinien znać każdy, kto interesuje się wzajemnymi związkami kultury, społeczeństwa i mediów. Pozycja plasująca się na pograniczu kilku dziedzin,m.in. socjologii, kulturoznawstwa, językoznawstwa, teorii sztuki, antropologii i historii, stanowi doskonały wstęp do koncepcji Marshalla McLuhana, który nie bez powodu nazywany jest jednym z największych myślicieli drugiej połowy minionego wieku”  – dr Kalina Kukiełko-Rogozińska

“The Gutenberg Galaxy is one of the canonical books which should be known to everyone interested in culture. This is an excellent introduction to Marshall McLuhan’s ideas, who is not without reason called one of the greatest thinkers of the second half of the last century. – Dr. Kalina Kukiełko-Rogozińska

Sourcehttp://nck.pl/ksiazki/319154-galaktyka-gutenberga/ (Thanks to Paolo Granata for the information).

Poland’s Flag


Marshall McLuhan Explains Why We’re Blind to How Technology Changes Us, Raising the Question: What Have the Internet & Social Media Done to Us?

By Colin Marshall

So many of us use Facebook every day, but how many of us know that its enormous presence in our lives owes, in part, to modern philosophy? “In the course of his studies at Stanford,” writes John Lanchester in a recent London Review of Books piece of Facebook, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, an early investor in the company, “became interested in the ideas of the US-based French philosopher René Girard, as advocated in his most influential book, Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World,” especially a concept he called “mimetic desire.”

“Human beings are born with a need for food and shelter,” writes Lanchester. “Once these fundamental necessities of life have been acquired, we look around us at what other people are doing, and wanting, and we copy them.” Or as Thiel explained it, “Imitation is at the root of all behavior.” Lanchester reports that “the reason Thiel latched onto Facebook with such alacrity was that he saw in it for the first time a business that was Girardian to its core: built on people’s deep need to copy,” yet few of us, its users, have clearly perceived that essential aspect of Facebook and other social media platforms.

Marshall McLuhan, despite having died decades before their development, would have caught on right away — and he understood why even we savvy denizens of the 21st century haven’t. “For the past 3500 years of the Western world, the effects of media — whether it’s speech, writing, printing, photography, radio or television — have been systematically overlooked by social observers,” said the author of Understanding Media and The Medium is the Message. “Even in today’s revolutionary electronic age, scholars evidence few signs of modifying this traditional stance of ostrichlike disregard.”

Those words come from an in-depth 1969 interview with Playboy magazine that broke the celebrity literature professor McLuhan’s ideas to an even wider audience than they’d had before. In it he diagnosed a “peculiar form of self-hypnosis” he called “Narcissus narcosis, a syndrome whereby man remains as unaware of the psychic and social effects of his new technology as a fish of the water it swims in. As a result, precisely at the point where a new media-induced environment becomes all pervasive and transmogrifies our sensory balance, it also becomes invisible.”

 Narcissus

As McLuhan saw it, “most people, from truck drivers to the literary Brahmins, are still blissfully ignorant of what the media do to them; unaware that because of their pervasive effects on man, it is the medium itself that is the message, not the content, and unaware that the medium is also the massage — that, all puns aside, it literally works over and saturates and molds and transforms every sense ratio. The content or message of any particular medium has about as much importance as the stenciling on the casing of an atomic bomb.”

Just last month, no less omnipresent an internet titan than Google celebrated McLuhan’s 106th birthday, and a social observer called PR Professor saw in it a certain irony: though “it seems like technology that extends man’s ability to experience and interpret the world is positive and desirable,” McLuhan pointed out “that the inherent tendency to focus on the messages within the media make us blind to the limits and structures imposed by the mediums themselves.” This blindness has consequences indeed, since, according to McLuhan, each time a society develops a new media technology, “all other functions of that society tend to be transmuted to accommodate that new form” as that technology “saturates every institution of that society.”

This went for speech, writing, print, and the telegraph as well as it goes for “social media platforms like Twitter, which reduce expressive possibilities to 140 characters of text or expressing one’s self through the ‘re-tweeting’ of posts by others.” McLuhan believed that at one time only the interpretive work of the artist, “who has had the power — and courage — of the seer to read the language of the outer world and relate it to the inner world,” could allow the rest of us to recognize the thoroughgoing effects of technology on society, but that “the new environment of electric information” had made possible “a new degree of perception and critical awareness by nonartists.” At least more of us, if we step back, can now understand our affliction by mimetic desire, Narcissus narcosis, or any number of other troubling conditions. What to do about them remains an open question. Source: https://goo.gl/fNVKFL

About the Author: Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog.


Mapping Media Ecology-Introduction to the Field

Series: Understanding Media Ecology

By Dr. Dennis D. Cali

Until now, the academic foundations of media ecology have been passed down primarily in the form of edited volumes, often by students of Neil Postman, or are limited to a focus on Marshall McLuhan and/or Postman or some other individual important to the field. Those volumes are invaluable in pointing to key ideas in the field; they provide an important and informed account of the fundamentals of media ecology as set forth at the field’s inception. Yet there is more to the story.

Offering an accessible introduction, and written from the perspective of a «second generation» scholar, this single-authored work provides a unified, systematic framework for the study of media ecology. It identifies the key themes, processes, and figures in media ecology that have coalesced over the last few decades and presents an elegant schema with which to engage future exploration of the role of media in shaping culture and consciousness.

Dennis D. Cali offers a survey of a field as consequential as it is fascinating. Designed to be used primarily in media and communication courses, the book’s goal is to hone insight into the role of media in society and to extend the understanding of the themes, processes, and interactions of media ecology to an ever-broader intellectual community.

Publisher: Peter Lang  –  ISBN: 9781433137822  –  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3726/978-1-4539-1871-5 –  Availability: Now –  Formats: EPUB , PDF , Paperback

  Biography – Dr. Dennis Cali serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Texas at Tyler. Dr. Cali teaches in the areas of media ecology, rhetorical criticism, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, media literacy, and media ethics. His scholarly articles have appeared in Communication Studies, The Journal of Mass Media Ethics, and The Journal of Communication and Religion, among others. He is also the author of the books Generic Criticism of American Public Address and Faith and the Media as well as other book chapters investigating how faith shapes the field of communication. Dr. Cali is a member of several national and international professional communication associations and serves on the editorial boards of the  Relevant Rhetoric: New Journal of Rhetorical Studies and Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture.

Endorsements of Mapping Media Ecology:
 
“Part of the power and draw of the study of media ecology is its strong interdisciplinary connections. Dennis D. Cali’s noble efforts to outline these connections provide an excellent resource to introduce readers to the breadth and scope of the field. A most enjoyable read, Mapping Media Ecology is a welcome and much-needed work of fine scholarship.” Stephanie Bennett, Professor of Communication and Media Ecology, Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida; Author of the Within the Walls trilogy and Communicating Love: Staying Close in a 24/7 Media Saturated Society

“As any cartographer knows, making a map is itself a process of discovering. In this book, Dennis D. Cali sketches an alternative and innovative route for exploring the complex and multilayered media environment. Anyone interested in the ecological dynamics of human culture will treasure this book as a great reference and a source of inspiration to find new pathways and territories. Eventually, this book will serve not only as a delightful map for advanced students in media and communications but also as an excellent attempt for the canonization of media ecology as a field of study.” – Paolo Granata, Assistant Professor, Book and Media Studies, University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto

“Dennis D. Cali’s Mapping Media Ecology is a remarkable contribution to an exciting area of study that guides readers across complex media, social, and cultural environments. This volume is a must for all those who want to engage with the many dimensions of media ecology, discover its founding figures, and learn about its more recent developments.” Elena Lamberti, North American Literature and Communication, University of Bologna; Author of Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic: Probing the Literary Origins of Media Studies (MEA 2016 McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology)

“Dennis D. Cali’s Mapping Media Ecology is a well-conceived, richly-researched, and clearly-written introduction to media ecology…. It provides an excellent survey of a number of key concepts and specific areas of study, as well as the major thinkers most associated with them, for a fascinating discussion on the intellectual origins of the subject.”- —Casey Man Kong Lum, Professor of Communication, William Paterson University; Co-Founder and Founding Vice President, the Media Ecology Association

“Dennis D. Cali does a splendid job elucidating the systemic nature, function, and scope of the meta-field that is media ecology. In addition to bringing some of McLuhan’s sky-high postulates and probes down to earth, Cali vivifies so many other core thinkers, like Elizabeth Eisenstein, Susanne Langer, Walter Ong, and Neil Postman.”Robert MacDougall, Professor, Communication/Media Studies; Coordinator, Video Game Studies Concentration, Curry College

“Dennis D. Cali has done a tremendous service to the media ecology perspective in offering the first extensive account of this important thought tradition specifically designed for graduate students and upper-level undergraduates. Mapping Media Ecology is guaranteed to become a primary gateway for future students of this emerging field.”Phil Rose, Immediate Past President of the Media Ecology Association; Editor of Confronting Technopoly: Charting a Course Towards Human Survival