Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Media in transition

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In Maynard (USA)

Price on request
Prefer to call the centre directly?

Important information

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

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



Maynard (USA)
See map


Different dates availableNow taking bookings

Questions & Answers

Ask a question and other users will answer you

Who do you want to respond to your question/enquiry?

We will only publish your name and question

What you'll learn on the course


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

Don't show me this again

This is one of over 2,200 courses on OCW. Find materials for this course in the pages linked along the left.

MIT OpenCourseWare is a free & open publication of material from thousands of MIT courses, covering the entire MIT curriculum.

No enrollment or registration. Freely browse and use OCW materials at your own pace. There's no signup, and no start or end dates.

Knowledge is your reward. Use OCW to guide your own life-long learning, or to teach others. We don't offer credit or certification for using OCW.

Made for sharing. Download files for later. Send to friends and colleagues. Modify, remix, and reuse (just remember to cite OCW as the source.)

Learn more at Get Started with MIT OpenCourseWare

Compare to choose better:
See all