Low Profile of Humanities Studies in Toronto


David Barker asks some excellent questions about the low profile and status of the humanities and social sciences at the University of Toronto, my own alma mater, which is graphically and semiotically suggested by the photograph. You can just see McLuhan’s modest Coach House at the left, home of his Centre for Culture & Technology, peeking out from behind the building in the forefront. During the 1960s, European literary scholar George Steiner declared the University of Toronto to be the global centre for humanistic studies due to the presence of Marshall McLuhan, Northrop Frye and others (plus authors like Robertson Davies), which is a far cry from the present day situation, as the University of Toronto increasingly becomes a technopolistic institution in Neil Postman’s sense……….AlexK

Fri, Jul 22, 2011

To mark the Marshall McLuhan centenary (a day late), I offer a photo I took on Wednesday (a day early).  It’s a sign on the U. of T. campus and reads:  “Faculty of Law – McLuhan Program In Culture & Technology (Rear)”.  What is a Program In Culture & Technology (Rear)?  What does this sign communicate?  What part of it is important?  Program?  Culture & Technology?  (Rear)?  How does this differ from a Program In Culture & Technology (Front)?  Part of McLuhan’s enduring legacy is that, even today, he raises more questions than he answers (rear).



McLuhan’s Coach House, University of Toronto

 Constructed in 1903, The Coach House has since 1968 been the home of the Marshall McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto (Photo by Marcello Vieta).

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