Marshall McLuhan at Fordham University (1967): Inaugural Lecture


On the day before the McLuhan in New York Symposium at Fordham University (see ), scheduled 50 years after Marshall McLuhan’s arrival in New York City to spend the 1967-68 academic year at Fordham as the Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities, I will be publishing his recorded lectures from that time. This first one is his inaugural lecture on The Technological Unconscious on September 18, 1967. The introduction is made by Father John Culkin SJ and Harley Parker of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and Edmund (Ted) Carpenter, who accompanied McLuhan from Toronto, also speak. To commemorate that year, I will be also posting other of McLuhan’s recorded lectures from that year over the coming weeks. Stay tuned…

Marshall McLuhan touches on many concepts during his talk. During the 1967-1968 academic year, McLuhan, the Albert Schweitzer Chair in Humanities, oversaw an alternative curriculum of lectures, film showings and independent study assignments for students. Within two months of his appointment in 1967, he is hospitalized and underwent the longest brain surgery the world has known until that date (2 1/2hours and removal of benign brain tumor.

McLuhan’s appointment came about through communications professor John Culkin, S.J., a longtime colleague of McLuhan’s and himself a media expert. John Culkin (b. 1928), who was a Jesuit priest until 1969, first met McLuhan at a seminar Brandeis University in 1963, while he was working on his doctorate at Harvard, where one of his projects was to write a clear explication of McLuhan’s ideas. (He found this difficult until he was directed to McLuhan’s fourteen-chapter Report on Project in Understanding New Media (1960): see page 255-6).

In 1965 Culkin was appointed Director of the Centre for Communication at Fordham University and was instrumental in arranging for McLuhan’s appointment to the Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at Fordham in 1967-8. Culkin later founded in New York City the Centre for Understanding Media, and a graduate-school program in media studies at the New School for Social Research, both of which are explicitly based on McLuhan’s work. He is acclaimed to have invented the field of Media Literacy [and was also an important influence on the field of Media Studies known as Media Ecology). Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to more than 15,100 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools.
(Source: YouTube

Fordham University, Keating Hall, Bronx, NYC

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