Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Media in transition

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In Maynard (USA)

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Important information

Typology Master
Location Maynard (USA)
Start Different dates available
  • Master
  • Maynard (USA)
  • Start:
    Different dates available
Description

This course centers on historical eras in which the form and function of media technologies were radically transformed. It includes consideration of the "Gutenberg Revolution," the rise of modern mass media, and the "digital revolution," among other case studies of media transformation and cultural change. Readings are in cultural and social history and historiographic method.

Facilities (1)
Where and when

Location

Starts

Maynard (USA)
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02139

Starts

Different dates availableNow taking bookings

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What you'll learn on the course

Media

Course programme

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


We will focus this semester on transitional moments in the history of the book and in various media that rely on visual cognition (two-dimensional still images, theater, and film). Towards the end of the term, we will discuss strategies for placing today's so-called "digital revolution" in historical perspective. The emphasis will be on media in the West from the Middle Ages forward, but we will also look at non-Western examples in various periods, especially the case of printing in pre-modern China and Japan. Our goal is not to create the illusion of a complete survey of media change over the past two thousand years (an impossible, and thankless, assignment!). Rather, the class should open up new perspectives, primarily historical, that will add depth to your thinking about comparative media today. Some of you may also glean ideas and comparisons from our work together that will be useful for your master's thesis.


At our first meeting, each participant will sign up for a class presentation on a theme suggested by our common readings. Instructions for presentations will be provided at the first class meeting. In addition, students are expected to read carefully the required readings for each week, and come to class prepared to share thoughtful questions and comments with the group. A five-page paper comparing early modern readers in China and Italy (Qian Jinren and Menocchio) will be due on session #4. Lastly, each seminar member will prepare a final paper approximitly 15 pages in length. In certain well-defined situations, a substantial digital project may, with the consent of the instructor, be substituted for the final paper. The last two class sessions will be devoted to oral presentations of these projects. Instructions for oral presentations and the final paper will be handed out in class. These assignments and responsibilities will be weighted in determining the final grade.


Five page paper due


MIT Rare Books Collection visit with Stephen Skuce


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