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The Communication Revolutions

Semester and Year SP 2012
Course Number IDSEM-UG1626
Section 001
Instructor Paul Thaler
Days Thu
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement SOC


We say we live in the Information Age as if such an age never existed before. But throughout time, the introduction of new forms of media and communication technologies have had a transformational effect on existing social, political, and economic life, creating new perceptual pathways to our understanding. This course examines history through the prism of these communication “revolutions,” beginning with the arrival of the spoken word, the development of writing systems, the spread of the printed word, the age of electricity, before focusing on the modern era of digital media. It is through our investigation of these previous revolutions that we may come to some greater understanding about the promise, and consequence, of our own technological age. Possible readings: Jay David Bolter, Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age ; James Carey, Culture as Communication ; Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change ; Eric Havelock, Preface to Plato ; Marshall McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaxy ; Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization ; Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy ; Susan Sontag, On Photography ; Neil Postman, Technopoly ; and Sherry Turkle, The Second Screen .

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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