Seminar in Media Studies: Media Ecology

CRN 28971 / Th 5:30PM - 8:30PM / 1128 Cathedral of Learning
Early twenty-first century celebrations and denunciations of so-called “new media” too often ignore the variety of ways in which “old media” were once themselves new. Indeed, much of the scholarly and popular arguments about digital technology—to take the most recent new media moment— sound suspiciously like arguments made about the radio and the telegraph before it, as well as about the transition from oral to written culture. This course will interrogate these arguments by looking at the longer history of new media encompassed in the tradition of “Media Ecology.” Heavily influenced by the work of Marshall McLuhan—who drew upon the earlier work of Lewis Mumford and Harold Innis—Media Ecology places the technological medium of communication at the center of its scholarly inquiry. The theorists read and discussed in this course both support and challenge this tradition of thought, exploring a range of ways in which communication technologies interact with, shape, and are shaped by cultural processes. Readings will be drawn from the work of such writers as Mumford, McLuhan, Innis, Friedrich Kittler, Vilém Flusser, Carolyn
Marvin, Elizabeth Eisenstein, and Walter Ong.

Number of Credits


Brent Malin

Course Term


Course Category

Category D: Designated Courses

Course Year