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McLuhan in New York: The Video of the Event, October 13, 2017

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 7:31pm

Harley Parker, Ted Carpenter, Marshall McLuhan, John Culkin, SJ (Click on image for enlarged view)

McLuhan in New York, sponsored by Fordham University and St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto at Fordham University, 13 October 2017

From Fall 1967 to Spring 1968, Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan spent one academic year in New York City as the Albert Schweitzer Chair of the Humanities at Fordham University, invited by John Culkin S.J., Chair of the Department of Communications at Fordham. McLuhan in New York took the city by storm. The vibrant New York intellectual and artistic vortex provided the right kind of environment to germinate McLuhan’s provocative and unconventional ideas, to capture the city’s imagination. McLuhan’s impact at Fordham was also instrumental in drawing worldwide attention to the idea that technological engagement plays a fundamental role in the structuring of human perception.

On Friday, October 13th, 2017, Fordham University at its at Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan hosted a public event with Eric McLuhan, Paul Levinson, and John Carey, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of McLuhan’s intellectual presence in New York City. The initiative’s goal was not only to pay homage to McLuhan and his intellectual legacy, but also to probe how McLuhan’s work is still pertinent to the general understanding of our media environment today.

The “McLuhan in New York” event is presented by the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York and the Book & Media Studies Program at the St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, in conjunction with the Estate of Marshall McLuhan.


Eric McLuhan, Independent scholar: The Lost Tetrads

Paul Levinson, Fordham University: The Omnipotent Ear

John Carey, Fordham University: The Responsive Chord, 2017 (Foward to)

Welcoming words:                                                                                                            Jacqueline Reich, Fordham University                                                                                Paolo Granata, University of Toronto

Video by Hopeton Campbell; Thanks, Claudia Rivera and Chris Vicari

Categories: Blog

FEEDBACK #1 – Marshall McLuhan & the Arts – A Touring Project, with Programs in The Hague, Berlin, Paris & Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 8:40pm
Marshall McLuhan by Yousuf Karsh (1967) (c) Karsh Estate
With Marshall McLuhan (CA), Peter Blegvad (UK), Disnovation(SW/DE), Harun Farocki (DE), Darsha Hewitt (CA), Mogens Jacobsen (DK), Willy Lemaitre (CA), !mediengruppe Bitnik(DE), MRZB (IT), Christof Migone (CA), Reynold Reynolds(US), Thomas Bégin (CA), Wolfgang Spahn (DE), Hito Steyerl(DE), Stephanie Syjuco (PH) & Angela Washko (US).
Exhibition: 22.09.2017 — 19.11.2017
Opening + performance: Thomas Bégin & Wolfgang Spahn
Friday 22.09.2017, 8 PM
2 locations: West Museumkwartier, Lange Voorhout 34 West; Groenewegje 136

Extras: 2-day Symposium Feedback 28.09 & 29.09
1-day Symposium Man and His World 21.10
1-day Symposium Radical Transdiciplinary Academics 5.11
Workshop Wolfgang Spahn 31.10
Workshop Reynold Reynolds 15.11 — 18.11
Museumnacht open air cinema 21.10
Book presentation Reynold Reynolds 19.11

Recursive exhibition and symposium project. Celebrating the synthetic practices of the Toronto School, featuring the radical experimental publishing work of Marshall McLuhan as art. Feedback brings artists, designers, scholars, and thinkers together to probe, encounter and contest the light-speed electronic information environments we inhabit today.

Exploding out of the wreckage of World War II the early cyberneticists Norbert Wiener and Claude Shannon, sketched out a future where even thinking could be automated. In the electronic information of global instantaneous mass-communication of the satellite and TV age, Marshall McLuhan saw the end of the rational tradition of enlightenment Humanism, and the emergence of a ‘Global Village’ and ‘Global Theatre’ where people would be caught up in their interconnectivity and develop new social art forms.

The pace of technological transformation, automation and globalization have resulted in massive human migration, precaritization, displacement and new transitional modes of existence. The Internet, built to maintain command and control of the US military in an extreme emergency has become a commercialized infrastructure where unprecedented new forms of communication and exchange are emerging. Publics are formed and dissolved algorithmically according to need, no longer at the level of opinion or knowledge, but according to advanced social cybernetics of politics and the advertising economy. The medium is the message.

Feedback is the second in a series of projects (first was Without Firm Ground, Flusser and the Arts, March 2006), which explore the potential for a synthesis of philosophy and theory in works of arts to fathom and understand the accelerating pace of social transformation brought on by technological and scientific progress. The exhibition will feature fourteen provocative and invigorating propositions from drawing to sound sculpture, from online performance actions to obsessive hardware hackery, which grapple with the substance of the information machine we live in.

Installed across two locations visitors will discover the series of Dew-line newsletter and Explorations journals, archive materials, video documentation of McLuhan and works by young artists from all over the world.

Marshall McLuhan (CA, 1911 – 1980) had already noted in the 1960s that the speed and pervasiveness of electronic communication were superseding the rational and reflective abilities of literacy. The technologies that brought us here are built through rational disinterested scientific method, but generate an immersive environment where we lose grasp of private identity and long for a pre-literate togetherness in a ‘Global Village’. His ‘Global Village’ came to exemplify the uncritical Summer of Love communality of the Hippies, but it was a misappropriation and misunderstanding of McLuhan’s meaning. For McLuhan, the ‘Global Village’ was a place of violent terror, where there was constant surveillance and where privacy was ‘merely ignored’, as he frankly describes in a famous interview with Canadian talk show host Mike McManus.
McLuhan rose to prominence as perhaps the most famous cultural critic of his age with an analysis that directly engaged with the transformations emerging with the introduction of electronic technologies. His involvement was gestural, reason alone would not suffice to grapple with the contemporary conditions, there was a techno-cultural revolution afoot, which was completely disrupting how human beings had perceived the world for hundreds of years.

Curators: Baruch Gottlieb & Marie-José Sondeijker
DEW Line Newsletter exhibit co-curated with Graham Larkin
Explorations exhibit co-curated with Michael Darroch with additional documentation from Simon Rogers.

The project Feedback #1, Marschall McLuhan and the Arts in The Hague is the first station of the exhibition symposia and workshops touring program, which will include programs in Berlin (2018), Paris (2018), Toronto (2019).                                           (Thanks to Paolo Granata)

See list & bios of participating artists here:

West Museumkwartier

Categories: Blog

New Book Announcement: Medien verstehen – Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media

McLuhan Galaxy - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 5:53pm

EnglishMedia in its historical and technical diversity was the promise that Marshall McLuhan had given over 50 years ago with Understanding Media. Our digitally altered present requires the book to be read again today and to be examined against the background of current technical developments. The subject of the anthology is, (a) McLuhan’s idea of media as “environments”, his idiosyncratic language and argument, as well as his acceptance of the technical comprehension of perception…

German: Medien in ihrer historischen und technischen Vielfalt zu verstehen, das war das Versprechen, das Marshall McLuhan vor über fünfzig Jahren mit Understanding Media gegeben hatte. Unsere digital veränderte Gegenwart erfordert, das Buch heute erneut zu lesen und vor dem Hintergrund aktueller technischer Entwicklungen zu hinterfragen. Gegenstand des Sammelbandes sind u. a. McLuhans Idee von Medien als „Umwelten“, seine eigenwillige Sprache und Argumentation sowie seine Annahme der technischen Verfasstheit von Wahrnehmung.

The Editors

Till A. Heilmann(Dr.Phil.) researches and teaches at the Department of Media Science at the University of Bonn. Research focus: digital image processing; Algorithms and computer programming; North American and German-speaking media science. Selected publications: “Innis and Kittler: The Case of the Greek Alphabet”, N. Friesen (eds.): Media Transatlantic, 2016, pp. 91-110; “On the precedence of the operational chain in media science and at Leroi-Gourhan”, International Jahrbuch für Medienphilosophie 2 (2016): 7-29; “Data processing in ‘capture’ capitalism. On the expansion of the exploitation zone in the age of informal surveillance, “Zeitschrift fur Medienwissenschaft 2 (2015): 35-48.

Jens Schröter (Prof. Dr. phil.) is a professor of media culture at the University of Bonn: research interests: digital media; Photography; Intermediality; three-dimensional images; Media theory and value criticism; Audiovisual and audiovisual culture. Selected Publications: Handbuch Medienwissenschaft (als Hg.), 2014; 3D. History, Theory and Aesthetics of the Technical-Transplane Image, 2014; Auditive media cultures. Techniques of listening and practices of sound design (as Hg. With A. Volmar), Bielefeld: Transcript 2013. Wired. The Wire and the Fight for the Media, 2012.

The Publisher  – meson press publishes research on digital cultures and networked media. Our open access publications challenge contemporary theories and advance key debates in the humanities of today. We combine a rigorous peer-review with hybrid formats and collaborative production methods. As a cooperative, meson press is organized in a participated setup. This allows scholars to take part in a publishing venture by academics for academics and for everyone else who is curious about theory. In the hybrid environment of today’s scholarly publishing, form follows function in a new manner. (Source )                                                (Thanks to Norm Frisen for this.)

Categories: Blog

McLuhan at Fordham: Panelists Look Back 50 Years Later

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 5:29pm

Marshall McLuhan in the March 1967 Saturday Review

 Fordham News   –   October 16, 2017

Twentieth-century media theorist Marshall McLuhan spent just one academic year at Fordham—his 1967-68 tenure as Albert Schweitzer Chair of the Humanities. But that year was a heady one, for both McLuhan and for a nation that would soon undergo profound cultural and political changes, panelists said on Oct. 13 at Fordham.

The University and New York City served as twin incubators for the Canadian philosopher and new media scholar’s always evolving theories, said McLuhan’s son, Eric. “It was a magical year,” he said. “Everything we predicted in ‘67 or ‘68 has come true.” 

Global Interconnectedness

Eric McLuhan joined two of his father’s protégés—Fordham communication professors John Carey, Ph.D., and Paul Levinson, Ph.D.,—at the Lincoln Center campus for a look-back, on the 50th anniversary of McLuhan’s tenure at the University. He referenced his father’s conception of the global village, a term the elder McLuhan coined to denote the interconnectedness of people throughout the world via ever-evolving technology; i.e., what became known decades later as the World Wide Web.

That particular academic year, McLuhan and his team of collaborators—son Eric, University faculty member John Culkin, S.J., the painter Harley Parker, and the anthropologist Ted Carpenter—conducted seminars, showed films and assigned independent projects to students that would echo and expand on McLuhan’s thinking. His ideas about technology and society were most conspicuously outlined in his aphoristic declaration that “the medium is the message.” For the students and their mentors, the semester amounted to a theater of experimentation, exploration, and prognostication.

Eric McLuhan suggested that his father’s prescience continues to resonate today, 37 years after his passing. It has never been more evident during an epoch when “fake news,” “media bubbles” and “social media” dominate the discourse, panelists agreed.

A Million Isolated Villages

Carey, who studied under McLuhan, recalled an instance when McLuhan said his theories were works in progress. He said, ‘Don’t take everything I say as gospel. A lot of what I say I’m just testing the waters and I may disagree with myself a week later,’” Carey said.

He suggested that McLuhan would likely have revised his conception of the global village given the ubiquity of the internet, which McLuhan had foreseen some 30 years before its advent.

“He talked about the fact we were in a global village, that essentially we were all getting the same thing and that meant we were one village even though we were the world,” Carey said. “I think the Internet has totally shattered that. We’re not in a global village anymore. We’re in a million isolated villages of our own choosing. And I think he would observe that were he here.”

Inside Looking Out

Paul Levinson, Marshall McLuhan, and Eric McLuhan in 1978.
(From McLuhan in an Age of Social Media)

Although McLuhan’s tenure in the media capital of the world was short, it shaped him profoundly, his son said. From his home base in Toronto, McLuhan was able to peer into the United States regularly and see his neighbors “more clearly than the people involved in it could see themselves.”

“Now he found himself on the inside looking out, and he learned a lot,” he said.

Levinson, the author of Digital McLuhan and McLuhan in an Age of Social Media (the latter first published in 1999), said McLuhan was always probing. He was a person who declined to make value judgments, preferring instead to keep exploring.

During a Q and A, Levinson was unequivocal in response to a questioner asking who, today, has inherited McLuhan’s mantle as a far-sighted inquisitor.

“It’s ipso facto impossible for there to be another McLuhan,” Levinson said.

Richard Khavkine  Source:

Categories: Blog

Gerald O’Grady, Marshall McLuhan and Spiral Perception

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:22pm

Gerald O’Grady, Ph.D.

Founder/Director of Media Study (Buffalo) and Initiator/Director of Center for Media Study (S.U.N.Y. Buffalo, Buffalo, NY) Dr. O’Grady came to the University at Buffalo in 1967 as a medieval specialist in the Department of English. He had become interested while at Rice University in Texas with the new media as a code of communication; at UB he was the initiator and Director of the Center for Media Study in 1972, and he founded the independent, not-for-profit media center Media Study (Buffalo).

His concept of the wide-ranging effects and possibilities for “new media” was universal in scope, presciently forecasting that with the advent of film, video and television cameras, broadcast industries and computer technologies there was to be a dramatic change in the way people throughout the world would receive information, do business and communicate with each other. He was particularly sensitive to the need for artists to be supported and to work with the advanced thinkers of the scientific communities to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas that would enable the flourishing of the new art forms…. His mission was the preparation of artists and teachers of media whose mode of personal expression would grow from a cross-disciplinary base of general education, and further, to bring the public an awareness and understanding of a new era of media literacy.

Gerald O’Grady, Ph.D., was the founder and Director of two public-service organizations: The Media Center in Houston, Texas and the Center for Media Study at the University at Buffalo (then known as the State University of New York at Buffalo) and Director of its Educational Communications Center which served 128 departments. Most recently, he has been Visiting Scholar in the Department of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University where, as Fellow of the W.E.B. DuBois. Institute for Afro-American Research, he worked on the Films of the American Civil Rights Movement.

He has produced documentaries on arts and on social issues for PBS, and his projects have been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Markle Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1979, Dr. O’Grady has edited, independently published and contributed essays to over 30 catalogues for film retrospectives or series including The Films of the Civil Rights; Remembering Malcom X; and Czech Filmaking, 1963-1990 for Joseph Papp’s The Public Theater; on the Brazilian filmmaker Nelson Pereiros dos Santos for the Film Society of the Lincoln Center; on Theo Angelopoulos for the Museum of Modern Art in New York; on Dziga Vertov for the Collective for Living Cinema (NY); on MIZOGUCHI Kenji for the Cinématheque Ontario (Toronto); on David MacDougall for Media Study/Buffalo; and Articulate Energy: The Emergence of the Abstract Film in America for Harvard University and Anthropology Film Archives.

In 1974, O’Grady coordinated the November 21-22 conference entitled “Educational Communication Centers and the Television Arts” which was conducted at the State University of New York at Albany. The conference host was William Mulvey, director of SUNY at Albany’s Educational Communications Center. The purposes of the gathering, as set forth in the program, were threefold: first, to present the latest developments in the video arts and their related technologies and systems; secondly, to suggest ways in which the facilities of communication centers within colleges and universities might be prepared to serve developing video artists on their own campuses and surrounding communities; and finally, to indicate ways in which centers might stimulate activity in all of the arts and humanities.” Presentations included: O’Grady on defragmenting overspecialized media course by engaging interdisciplinary processes in contemporary media education; Mulvey on educational productions; Steina Vasulka screened videotapes “illustrating the history of the generated image”; Filmmaker and Video Artist, Tom Dewitt showed his new work “Fall”; and Gerd Stern, president of Intermedia Systems Corporation, talked on “the present state of communications systems and some possible directions for evolution” … (Read the rest at )

What the above account does not mention was the influence of Marshall McLuhan on Gerald O’Grady, who started his academic career as a medievalist in English literature (like McLuhan) but switched to media and film studies after his encounter with Marshall McLuhan around 1967. In this segment of a video O’Grady discusses his late 1960s encounter with Marshall McLuhan whose perceptual mode was a spiral in form, influenced by Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists. On spiral perception see The Spiral Structure of Marshall McLuhan’s Thinking by Izabella Pruska Oldenhof and Robert K. Logan. (Available at )

Categories: Blog

Recently Published: A New McLuhan Book From Brazil

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 9:54pm

It is great to see Marshall McLuhan’s influence continuing to spread outward from the English-speaking world to other countries where books by and about him are being published in their local languages. On September 17 I announced two new books about McLuhan having been published in Poland, following on my announcement of the first Polish translation of The Gutenberg Galaxy on August 17. Now we can add Brazil to the list.

McLuhan and Cinema

was published in the spring in a dual language edition, Portuguese on one side, English on the other, by Wilson Oliveira Filho.

With a preface written by Eric McLuhan and Andrew McLuhan, Wilson Oliveira Filho
UNESA’s professor, researcher and coordinator of Audiovisual Production undergraduate course launched at MEA (Media Ecology Association) 18th annual convention the bilingual book “McLuhan e o cinema “/” McLuhan and cinema” by the Brazilian publish house Verve. In Brazil, the book was launched at Oi Futuro art Gallery in Rio de Janeiro with a video homage to McLuhan and his galaxy of thoughts. The book covers from McLuhan’s performance on Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall”, references to Cronenberg’s characters to live audiovisual performances ( live cinema and Vjing art), and web audiovisual phenomena like YouTube. The book tries to draft McLuhan as a cinema theorist and how the media thinker helped us to understand films beyond the message, the moving medium beyond narratives and the image of McLuhan as a media-film-ecologist. Wilson is also a musician and a multimedia artist. With his partner, Márcia Bessa created in 2012 the DUO2x4 developing several artworks in Brazil.

The following is an excerpt from the Preface to the book written by Eric and Andrew McLuhan:
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Marshall McLuhan, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964) appeared over half a century ago, and movies and cinema have been transformed many times in that period. This book is an attempt to comment on some of these transformations, building on the original observations by
Marshall McLuhan.

Let’s take stock of some of those changes. Within a decade of the appearance of Understanding Media, it was obvious that movies on television had quite a different effect from movies in the theatre. It was discovered that the difference was in no way related to the size of the screen. The movie on television had the effect of television – not that of film. The effect, in other words, was not produced by the content, but by the way in which the new medium acted directly on the sensibilities of the audience; and so
movies made from novels did not have the effect of the novel, any more than movies on television had the effect of movies.

One of the classic examples of the film effect familiar to everyone is the roller-coaster ride: as the camera in the front car ascends the first and steepest hill, suspense builds. Then it reaches the climax and begins its downward acceleration, and every member of the audience feels the result in the pit of the stomach. Some people even become nauseous. The same scene, shown on television, has no such dramatic effect whatever. Experiments with side-by-side presentations of this scene on large television screens and film images of exactly the same proportions have demonstrated that screen size is not a factor…                                                                                                                                                                                                            **********

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Introductory Note – Don’t explain; explore and… be grateful 13

introduction Presenting an image of McLuhan 15

1. The gliding camera as an extension of man: McLuhan extending Vertov 37

2. “Tommy, can you hear me?”: memory, sensoriality, and the extensions 52

3. McLuhanian characters and objects in David Cronenberg 71

4. “Boy, if life were only like this!”: the screen is the message 89

5. Documentary beyond the rear-view mirror: on McLuhan’s Wake 109

6. Networked-memory: YouTube, a McLuhanian archive beyond images and things 121

7. McLuhan-Performer: extending/understanding live cinema 136

Conclusion Cinema as McLuhan’s extension 157

References 164

Categories: Blog

Marshall McLuhan at Fordham University (1967): Inaugural Lecture

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 8:39pm

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

Categories: Blog

Call for Papers: The 19th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association (MEA), University of Maine, Orono – June, 2018

McLuhan Galaxy - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 8:09pm

Senses of Time, Space and Place


Since 1950, when Canadian economic historian Harold Innis grounded his communication history theory in the ebb and flow of time-biased and space-biased media from ancient to modern civilizations, time and space have been a key concept in what later became media ecology in the 1970s. Marshall McLuhan applied the time/space concept to perception to understand the temporal characteristics of oral culture; the spatial nature of visual scribal and typographic culture, and the elimination of time and space in electronic media culture. Walter Ong featured time and space as central to the modes of consciousness in orality and literacy. Neil Postman attributed the decline in rational print culture discourse to the shortening attention span of television culture. For James Carey, too, time and space were critical elements of the equation of communication and culture. Joshua Meyrowitz explored the shifting sense of place in media cultures. And theorists from Jean Baudrillard to Paul Virilio contemplated postmodern and posthuman senses of time, space and place.

With this as context, we invite paper and panel proposals that address one or more of the three core themes. Although we encourage submissions that touch upon, or align with, the convention theme, papers, abstracts, and panel proposal submissions from all areas of Media Ecology are welcome. A maximum of two submissions per author will be accepted. Authors who wish their papers to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper award must indicate this on their submission(s). The top papers will be published in Explorations in Media Ecology. All submissions will be acknowledged. The language of the convention is English.

Please note that paper and panel proposals do not need to be related to the overall conference theme.

Please submit all papers, and paper and panel proposals to the submission page for MEA 2018, at

. Please send questions only to the convention coordinator, Paul Grosswiler, at <>

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 1, 2017.

Guidelines for Submission

For manuscripts eligible for MEA award submissions:

1.     Manuscripts should be 4,000-6,000 words (approximately 15 to 25 double-spaced pages)

2.     Include a cover page (or e-submission page) with your academic or professional
affiliation and other contact information.

3.     Include a 150 words abstract, with the title. Use APA, MLA or Chicago style.

4.     Papers should be written in English.

For Paper and Panel Proposals:

1.     Include title, 250 words abstract, and contact information with your

2.     Outline, as relevant, how your paper or panel will fit with the convention theme

3.     Presenters should be prepared to deliver their papers in English.

4.     Authors with papers submitted as part of a panel proposal or as a paper proposal that wish to be considered for Top Paper or Top Student Paper must send completed paper to the convention planner by April 1, 2018.

MEA 2018 Featured Speakers

Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity

Renee Hobbs  –  Communication Studies Professor Renee Hobbs is an internationally recognized authority on digital and media literacy education. Through community and global service and as a researcher, teacher, advocate and media professional, Dr. Hobbs has worked to advance the quality of digital and media literacy education in the United States and around the world. She is founder and director of the Media Education Lab at the University of Rhode Island, whose mission is to improve the quality of media literacy education through research and community service.

Walter J. Ong Award for Career Achievement in Scholarship

Susan J. Drucker  –  is professor and coordinator of the media studies program in the Department of Journalism/ Mass Media Studies at Hofstra University. She is an attorney and teaches courses in media law and media ethics. She is the author and editor of eight books and over 100 articles and book chapters, including American Heroes in a Media Age (1994) (with Robert Cathcart) and Global Media Heroes (2008) (with Gary Gumpert); Huddled Masses: Immigration and Communication (1998); Voices in the Street: Gender, Media and Public Space (1997), Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Communicating Baseball (2002), and two editions of Real Law @ Virtual Space: The Regulation of Cyberspace (1999, 2005) and Urban Communication Reader (2008) (with Gene Burd). Her next book is Convergence Regulation.

Categories: Blog

Marshall McLuhan & Expo 67: One Day Symposium, The Hague, Netherlands

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 11:18pm

(Click on image for expanded view)

The 1967 International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67, as it was commonly known, was a general exhibition, Category One World’s Fair held in MontrealQuebec, Canada, from April 27 to October 29, 1967. It is considered to be the most successful World’s Fair of the 20th century with the most attendees to that date and 62 nations participating. It also set the single-day attendance record for a world’s fair, with 569,500 visitors on its third day. (Wikipedia)

One-day Symposium at Museumnacht, The Hague

‘Man and his World’ with Baruch Gottlieb, Shailoh Phillips & others

In the middle of the cold war, there were signs of a thaw. Electronic media and the first digital computers were bursting into public consciousness conjuring visions of unlimited technological possibilities. Perhaps the most prominent public thinker on the social and cultural transformations at hand, Marshall McLuhan was invited to consult on a prototype of a future techno-utopia. This project, unprecedented in its scope, and radical in its Humanist spirit of inclusiveness, was perhaps that last great gesture of unadulterated hope in a better world through the advancement of science and technology, of medium and its message, it was ‘Man and His World’ EXPO 67.

The international symposium series which accompanies the recursive touring exhibition ‘Feedback: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts’ brings together specialists and generalists, artists, philosophers and critics to discuss the insights of Marshall McLuhan and the Toronto School and examine the pertinence for understanding our conditions today.

Our discussion, recalling the name of that great celebration of human reason and a hope for a peaceful and prosperous world ‘Man and his World’, will re-examine and recontextualize the techno-social aspirations of the late 60s, in the current conditions of the anthropocene where hopeful notions technological and scientific progress are facing intractable challenges. What has happened to our relationship to technology? What promises have been fulfilled, which proved to be unrealisable, and what hopeful scenarios for the present of ubiquitous networked light-speed computation can we imagine today?

The presentations will be in English and suitable for artists, students, art and culture enthusiasts and anyone with a wide interest.


12:00 — 13:00 Doors open:

Exhibition Feedback #1: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts

13:00 — 13:05 Marie-José Sondeijker — introduction

13:05 — 13:45 Dr. phil. Baruch Gottlieb

Lecture: ‘Man and his World in the Anthropocene’

13:45 — 14:30 Coffee Break

14:30 — 15:00 Guided tour through the exhibition

15:00 — 16:30 Dr. phil. Baruch Gottlieb & Shailoh Phillips

Workshop: ‘McLuhan’s Ecology: the planet as a work of art’

16:30 — 17:30 Public Discussion:

‘The environment of pervasive media’

17:30 — 18:00 uur Round up & Drinks

Baruch Gottlieb is trained as a filmmaker at Concordia University, has been working in digital art with specialization in public art since 1999. He is active member of the ‘Telekommunisten’, ‘Arts & Economic Group’ and ‘Laboratoire Déberlinisation artist collectives’. He currently lectures in digital aesthetics at the University of Arts Berlin and is fellow of the Vilém Flusser Archiv. Curator of ‘Feedback #1: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts’, he writes extensively on digital aesthetics, digital archiving, generative and interactive processes, digital media for public space and on social and political aspects of networked media.

Shailoh Phillips is a media artist, researcher and mediator. After initial training in cultural anthropology, philosophy and cultural analysis, Shailoh shifted her practice into the interstices between technology, arts and design education. For 10 years, she has been working on building interactive installations, workshops and games with organizations such as MIT Media Lab, Rijksmuseum, VPRO, Bouwkeet and Open Set. In 2017, she graduated (cum laude) from Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, with an MA in Education in Arts and Design. She specializes in playful exercises in collective critical thinking, decolonizing institutions, and training digital literacy skills. (Source: )

 The American Pavilion of Expo 67 designed  by R. Buckminster Fuller

Categories: Blog

Reuters Reporter on Drug War Awarded the 2017 McLuhan Fellowship, Philippines

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 8:40pm

McLuhan Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism Awarded to Manny Mogato, Philippine correspondent for Reuters (Right)

By Margaret Claire Latug, GMA News  –  September 28, 2017

The Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility on Thursday presented a prestigious fellowship to Manila-based reporter Manuel Mogato, who has chronicled some of the most explosive events under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration for international news agency Reuters.

Mogato received the plaque for the 2017 Marshall McLuhan Fellow at an awards ceremony held at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City.

A year ago, Mogato and co-correspondent Karen Lema ran a story on Duterte likening himself to Adolf Hitler and saying he would “be happy” to deal with the Philippines’ criminals just as the latter did to millions of Jews.

The President’s remark drew international criticism from world leaders, Jewish groups and the United Nations.

A few months later, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) raised concern for Mogato’s safety after hackers were able to deface his Facebook page, which NUJP chair Ryan Rosauro said could lead to physical harm to Mogato.

This August, Mogato, together with fellow Reuters reporter Claire Baldwin, came out with a special report using detailed insider accounts of two senior Philippine National Police (PNP) officials who claimed that most of the killings of criminals under the Duterte’s administration were “state-sponsored.”

The interviews exposed police officers supposedly receiving payoffs for every drug suspect and other “troublemakers” killed.

The Reuters report also found tracks leading to the existence of a so-called Davao Death Squad which was said to “augment and assist” these killings.

Established in 1997 by the University of Toronto and the Canadian Embassy in Manila in honor of the Canadian philosopher, author and media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the fellowship is awarded to a journalist “embodying outstanding qualities in the field of investigative journalism.”

As this year’s recipient, Mogato is set for a two-week lecture tour of Canadian media and academic organizations and, later, a number of Philippine universities.

Previous McLuhan Fellows include Probe Team’s  Cheche Lazaro, VERA Files’ Yvonne Chua, TV’5 Ed Lingao, and MindaNews’ Carolyn Arguillas.

Former Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter Raffy Lerma also bagged the Award of Distinction for 2017.

Both journalists join the ranks of the Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism Fellows, a community of journalists and media practitioners poised to take part in programs of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, the CMFR said.

Apart from Mogato and Lerma, two other panelists for this year’s JVOJS were Malou Mangahas of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and Aie Balagtas See of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, both formerly of GMA News Online. — BM/MDM, GMA News (Source: )

Reuters’ Manuel Mogato (third from left) receives a plaque as 2017 Marshall McLuhan Fellow on September 28, 2017

Categories: Blog

McLuhan Salon – Bad New Days & Ahuri Theatre, October 15, 2017, Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 6:09pm

McLuhan Salon #2: Flashing Lights

We are pleased to partner with Bad New Days and Ahuri Theatre for our second McLuhan Salon this fall to take place Sunday, October 15 at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St W) at 2:00 PM.

First, we are treated to an innovative play Flashing Lights where Marshall McLuhan makes cameo appearances, and then to a McLuhan Salon discussion lead by a stimulating panel, including Flashing Lights director Adam Paolozza, author Guillermo Verdecchia, actor Dan Watson.

Created by award-winning Bad New Days (The Double) and Ahuri Theatre (This is the Point), “Flashing Lights: A High Tech  Fable About our Digital Lives  “is an original play exploring how digital technology is radically shaping human evolution. It tells the tale of an unremarkable guy who inexplicably becomes famous. His dizzying rise and fall effects everyone around him, in particular, his family; his savvy wife and their child”.

The play weaves a hyper-realistic, absurd narrative, with the use of everyday technology like smartphones and tablets, into an atmospheric theatrical style that responds to our anxiety about the future and the speed of technological advancements. Drawing on the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, Sherry Turkle, Jean Baudrillard and other theorists, Flashing Lights speaks to the growing anxiety about the future and to the vertiginous feeling that time itself is speeding up. Will humankind’s frail, flesh, and blood selves be able to keep up?

This new play has been created collaboratively by award-winning theatre artists Adam Paolozza (Dora Award Spent & The Double), Guillermo Verdecchia (Governor General’s and Chalmers Award Winner), Ken MacKenzie (Kim’s Convenience, Brantwood), Dan Watson (This is the Point, What Dream it Was), Liz Peterson (Performance About A Woman, Capitalist Love Duets) and Miranda Calderon (Butcher, Taking Care of Baby).

Co-Produced by Bad New Days & Ahuri Theatre
The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. West
Sunday, October 15, 2:00 PM: SHOW + McLUHAN SALON
Tickets Pay What You Can Afford $5 | $20 | $45 | $60
Book 416-538-0988 | 

 * * * * * * * * * *

The McLuhan Salons

are curated by Paolo Granta and David Nostbakken, and sponsored by the St. Michael’s College – the McLuhan’s intellectual home in the University of Toronto – and its popular Book & Media Studies program, in conjunction with the Estate of Marshall McLuhan and several high-level academic and cultural institutions. The series is generously supported by the William and Nona Heaslip Foundation. Register Now

“Since Sputnik put the globe in a ‘proscenium arch,’ and the global village has been transformed into a global theater, the result, quite literally, is the use of public space for ‘doing one’s thing'”. – Marshall McLuhan From Cliché to Archetype, 1970

Categories: Blog

University of Toronto English Prof Fred T. Flahiff: Student of McLuhan & Biographer of Sheila Watson

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:39am

Professor Fred T. Flahiff (1933 – 2017)

By Lynn Crosbie   –   September 27, 2017  Professor. Critic. Author. Friend. Born July 7, 1933, in Vancouver; died March 9, 2017, in Toronto, from complications following a stroke; aged 84.

“What a world, what a world,” was Fred’s refrain, sounding something like a honeyed mantra: What sweet sounds he takes with him.

He was Professor Flahiff to me when we met during my first year of PhD studies at the University of Toronto when he was acting chair of the English Department, and my “Jane Austen and the Brontes” instructor.

He would become Fred the night his friend, and mine, Professor Leslie Sanders and I burst in on him – surprising the dearly modest man in his pyjamas and robe, and he would remain close to my heart for almost 30 years, and still.

Fred meant a great deal, if not the world, to so many of his students. At the beginning of each year, and this is unheard of, he held a personal meeting with everyone. He was an exceptionally dedicated professor.

While considering the somewhat Eliotic Dr. F.T. Flahiff, it occurs to me that a great professor does not teach you information, but how to think – about the information at hand; about everything.

Fred called his students “Miss” and “Mister”; He never taught without a suit and tie. He was nonplussed by students who wore hats indoors; he had a large laugh and a love of the absurd.

When asked how to write an exam, he said, “Astonish me.”

“I feel like a little bird sometimes,” he told me, of lecturing, “singing on a branch.” When I became a professor, I understood him: how much of what we say is just ambient noise; how much, in his case, was as clear and lovely as, to cite Shelley’s praise of the skylark, “a star of Heaven.”

There is much to say about Fred: about his crush on the city of Rome and the actress Angela Lansbury, his piety, and vast, protean mind; about his collection of signed movie-star glossies, including, which amused him to no end, Claudette Colbert in The Egg and I; about his cherished Jack Shadbolt illustration of novelist Sheila Watson.

His cooking was terrible and endearing (macaroni with onion quarters and corn) and he had an acute love of cinema – a few years ago, he gave a Trampoline Hall lecture about his strange and persuasive respect for The Godfather: Part III.

He loved opera, Stanley Kubrick, writer Sheila Watson, his niece Theresa and near-son, Matthew Bronson, who lived in the flat below him.

Fred grew up in Vancouver, with his adored parents and two brothers – the rough, broad-voweled accent of this city popped up occasionally in his lofty, lovely voice.

He moved to Toronto in the 1950s, where he completed his graduate work at, and was hired by, the University of Toronto.

He never married; he had no children, except the hundreds and hundreds of students who moved in and out of his life; who loved him, truly. The bookshelf in his dining room-slash-office was covered with tacked-up photographs of former students’ children, often sitting with a beaming Fred.

Fred’s thesis, its defence presided over by a harried Marshall McLuhan, having rushed back from shooting Annie Hall, had to do with place. Place, as he perceived it in Shakespeare and Milton, those great writers of artistic blueprints, wherein one’s location and identity is fixed and central in the former, and moveable, fluid in the latter: “All places thou.”

I learned about Austen and Brontë this way, and I learned about humanity, through the notion of who we are and what we value; and through other of his piercing insights – “The world will come to you,” he assured me, in my youth, and it did.

He radiated that life is strange and beautiful: One would leave his small, gorgeous orbit, feeling invested in the possible.

Lynn Crosbie is one of Professor Flahiff’s former students. (Source:

Sheila & Wilfred Watson with Marshall McLuhan

F.T. Flahiff first met the renowned Canadian author Sheila Watson when they were both graduate students in Marshall McLuhan’s graduate seminar at the University of Toronto. The two formed a connection that, 40 years later, compelled Watson to entrust her biography to FlahiffAlways Someone to Kill the Doves: A Life of Sheila Watson was released in 2005. (Source: )

Categories: Blog

When John Lennon & Yoko Ono Met Marshall McLuhan, 1969

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 09/25/2017 - 8:32pm

By Richard Metzger

Although John Lennon and Yoko Ono were undoubtedly two of the very most famous and talked about people of 1969, Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan was no slouch in the worldwide fame department himself. And so it was an inspired pairing indeed, organized by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, when the peace-promoting Beatle and his avant-garde artist wife met up with the celebrated intellectual and author of The Medium is the Massage and Understanding Media on December 19th.

Lennon and Ono were in snowy Toronto doing press to bring attention to their “War is Over” billboard and poster campaign. Huge posters and billboards had been posted in twelve countries proclaiming “War is over! If you want it. Happy Christmas from John & Yoko.” The campaign was launched in the major cities of New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Rome, Athens, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Helsinki. There were over 30 roadside billboards put up in Toronto alone and a large billboard hung next to the US Armed Forces recruitment office located on New York’s Times Square.

McLUHAN: “Can you tell me? I just sort of wonder how the ‘War Is Over,’ the wording… The whole thinking. What happened?”

JOHN: “I think the basic idea of the poster event was Yoko’s. She used to do things like that in the avant-garde circle, you know. Poster was a sort of medium, media, whatever.”

 YOKO: “Medium.”

JOHN: “And then we had one idea for Christmas, which was a bit too vast, you know.”

YOKO: “We wanted to do it.”

JOHN: “We wanted to do it, but we couldn’t get it together in time.”

YOKO: “Maybe next year.”

JOHN: “And to do something specifically at Christmas. And then it got down to, well, if we can’t-do that event…”

YOKO: “We did this.”

JOHN: “…what we’ll do is a poster event. And then how do you get posters stuck all around the world, you know. It’s easier said than done. So we just started ringing up and find it out. And at first, we’re gonna have… We had some other wording, didn’t we, like, ‘Peace Declared.’ And it started up, there’s a place in New York, where you can have your own newspaper headline, you know. There’s a little shop somewhere in Times Square. And we were wondering how to, sort of like, get it in the newspapers as if it had happened, you know. And it developed from that. Well, we couldn’t get the front page of each newspaper to say war was over, peace declared or whatever.”

McLuhan’s full interview of John Lennon can be found on this blog here:

The following Tuesday reporters in Ottawa were astonished to find out that the Lennons had met, in private with then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father of the country’s current PM Justin Trudeau. Confronted afterward by a crush of reporters, microphones and TV cameras, Lennon was asked: “Did you find him to be a beautiful person?”

“I think he is,” the Beatle replied:

“If there were more leaders like Mr. Trudeau, the world would have peace.”

High praise indeed coming from John Lennon. He later told friends that Prime Minister Trudeau had said how important it was for him to understand what young people wanted and that he’d hoped to meet up with them again in more casual circumstances. After meeting with Trudeau, the Lennons had an appointment with Canada’s Health Minister about softening the penalties for cannabis possession.

Whereas the Trudeau meeting was off-limits to the media save for one photographer, John and Yoko’s fascinating discussion with Marshall McLuhan was captured on film for posterity.


Categories: Blog

McLuhan in New York – at Fordham University, Friday, October 13, 2017

McLuhan Galaxy - Sun, 09/24/2017 - 11:00am

(Click on image for larger view)

From Fall 1967 to Spring 1968, Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan spent one academic year in New York City as the Albert Schweitzer Chair of the Humanities at Fordham University, invited by John Culkin S.J., Chair of the Department of Communications at Fordham. McLuhan in New York took the city by storm. The vibrant New York intellectual and artistic vortex provided the right kind of environment to germinate McLuhan’s provocative and unconventional ideas, to capture the city’s imagination. McLuhan’s impact at Fordham was also instrumental in drawing worldwide attention to the idea that technological engagement plays a fundamental role in the structuring of human perception.

On Friday, October 13th, 2017, Fordham University, at its Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan, will host a public event with Eric McLuhan, Paul Levinson, and John Carey, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of McLuhan’s intellectual presence in New York City. The initiative’s goal is not only to pay homage to McLuhan and his intellectual legacy, but also to probe how McLuhan’s work is still pertinent to the general understanding of our media environment today. Teri McLuhan will be a special guest. Eric McLuhan will also present his latest book The Lost Tetrads of Marshall McLuhan (2017).

The “McLuhan in New York” event is presented by the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York and the Book & Media Studies Program at the St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, in conjunction with the Estate of Marshall McLuhan.

With: Eric McLuhan, The Lost Tetrads – Independent scholar

Paul Levinson, The Omnipotent Ear – Fordham University

John Carey, The Responsive Chord – Fordham University (Clarification Addendum: Tony Schwartz is the author of The Responsive Chord; John Carey will be speaking about the book on this occasion because he wrote the Forward to the 2nd edition of the book published earlier this year. See )

Welcoming words: Jacqueline Reich, Fordham University, Paolo Granata, University of Toronto
Greetings: Teri McLuhan

Tony Schwartz, Marshall McLuhan, and John Culkin at Tony Schwartz’s famous basement studio on W 56th Street in New York, 1967

(Click on image for larger view)

Eric McLuhan, PhD, is an internationally-known and award-winning lecturer on communication and media, Dr. McLuhan has over 40 years’ teaching experience in subjects ranging from high-speed reading techniques to literature, communication theory, media, culture, and Egyptology. He has taught at many colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. In addition to co-authoring “Laws of Media” in 1988 and working closely for many years with his father, the late Marshall McLuhan, he has also been deeply involved in exploring media ecology and communications.

Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. His nonfiction books, including The Soft EdgeDigital McLuhanRealspaceCellphone, New New Media, McLuhan in Age of Social Media, and Fake News in Real Context have been translated into 12 languages. His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (winner of Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction Novel of 1999), Borrowed TidesThe Consciousness PlagueThe Pixel EyeThe Plot To Save SocratesUnburning Alexandria, and Chronica. He appears on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel, and NPR.  His 1972 LP, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was reissued in 2010.  He was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Top Ten Academic Twitterers” in 2009.

John Carey brings 25 years of experience in media-industry research and product development to his teaching at the Gabelli School of Business. His clients have included Google, American Express, AT&T, NBC Universal, The New York Times, Primedia, A&E Television Networks, Digitas, The Online Publishers Association, PBS, Cablevision, Rainbow Media, Scholastic and XM Satellite Radio, among others. Professor Carey has served on the advisory boards of the Adult Literacy Media Alliance, the Annenberg School For Communications and Fordham’s Donald McGannon Communication Research Center. He was a commissioner on the Annenberg Commission on the Press and Democracy, has been an invited lecturer in more than a dozen countries and has presented his research to the boards of major media companies in the United States. Before coming to Fordham, he taught at Columbia Business School and at New York University.

Fordham University School of Law, 150 W. 62nd St. New York, Room 7-119

Categories: Blog

A Schoolman’s Guide to Marshall McLuhan by John Culkin, S.J., 1967

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:06pm

John M. Culkin SJ, PhD (1928-1993), leading media scholar, critic, educator, writer & consultant.

This is an important essay that was published in the Saturday Review, March 18, 1967, that helped introduce Marshall McLuhan and his ideas to a wider North American audience and especially educators. It introduced the quotation “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us” that for a long time was widely attributed to McLuhan while it was actually written by John Culkin based on an idea that probably originated from McLuhan. Here are the first two paragraphs and part the third paragraph of the essay:

By JOHN M. CULKIN, S.J., director of the Center for Communications, Fordham University

EDUCATION, a seven-year-old assures me, is “how kids learn stuff.” Few definitions are as satisfying. It includes all that is essential—a who, a what, and a process. It excludes all the people, places, and things which are only sometimes involved in learning. The economy and accuracy of the definition, however, are more useful in locating the problem than in solving it. We know little enough about kids, less about learning, and considerably more than we would like to know about stuff. 

In addition, the whole process of formal schooling is now wrapped inside an environment of speeded-up technological change which is constantly influencing kids and learning and stuff. The jet-speed of this technological revolution, especially in the area of communications, has left us with more reactions to it than reflections about it. Meanwhile back at the school, the student, whose psyche is being programed [sic] for tempo, information, and relevance by his electronic environment, is still being processed in classrooms operating on the postulates of another day. The cold war existing between these two worlds is upsetting for both the student and the schools. One thing is certain: It is hardly a time for educators to plan with nostalgia, timidity, or old formulas.
Enter Marshall McLuhan. 

He enters from the North, from the University of Toronto where he teaches English and is director of the Center for Culture and Technology. He enters with the reputation as “the oracle of the electric age” and as “the most provocative and controversial writer of this generation.” More importantly for the schools, he enters as a man with fresh eyes, with new ways of looking at old problems. He is a man who gets his ideas first and judges them later. Most of these ideas are summed up in his book, Understanding Media

Please read the rest of this article, and in fact you can download a pdf of the first 3 pages of the article, from here: 


However, to download the section of the Saturday Review that contains pages 70 to 72 that complete the Culkin article, download the pdf that contains those pages from here:

Culkin’s “tools shape us” quote is near the beginning of the continuation of the article on page 70:
3) Life imitates art. We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us. These extensions of our senses begin to interact with our senses. These media become a massage. The new change in the environment creates a new balance among the senses. No sense operates in isolation. The full sensorium seeks fulfillment in almost every sense experience. And since there is a limited quantum of energy available for any sensory experience, the sense-ratio will differ for different media…

Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (1936) – “We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us”.

See also on this blog “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us” at

Categories: Blog

Gould’s Variations and the Human Qualities that Foster Remarkable Creativity

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 09/14/2017 - 8:19pm

Dear Friends,

We are happy to team up with the Glenn Gould Foundation and celebrate the 85th anniversary of Glenn Gould’s birth. On Sept. 23 at 2:30 p.m., the Glenn Gould Foundation, with the support of the Toronto Symphony, will be presenting Prof. Joshua Cohen of Apple University as he gives his specially created multimedia presentation on Gould’s Variations and the Human Qualities that Give Rise to Remarkable Creativity.

Join us to celebrate Glenn Gould!
Further details and registration below. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Paolo Granata


Gould’s Variations and the Human Qualities that Foster Remarkable Creativity

Join us on September 23rd for an inspiring presentation in which Apple University’s Prof. Joshua Cohen discusses Glenn Gould’s artistry and his ceaseless pursuit of perfection.

Glenn Gould, the greatest pianist of the past century, thought that musical performance has an ethical importance: it aims at an experience of ecstasy, which creates a sense of distance from the world. Drawing on a presentation he gives to executives at Apple, using illustrations from Gould’s work, Joshua Cohen will discuss the meaning of this ethical ideal, explain how Gould’s 1982 recording of the Goldberg Variations reflects this ambitious aspiration for musical performance, and explore the human qualities that foster remarkable creativity.

September 23, 2017 – 2:30 PM

Glenn Gould Studio
250 Front Street West, Toronto, ON

TICKETS Starting at $25

Go here Read more on Prof. Cohen and his work on Gould:

  • Maclean’s Magazine
  • CBC News
  • Musical Toronto


Categories: Blog

The McLuhan Salons Are Back Presented By St. Michael’s College

McLuhan Galaxy - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 5:55pm

Presented by the St. Michael’s College – the McLuhan’s intellectual home in the University of Toronto – and its popular Book & Media Studies program, in conjunction with the Estate of Marshall McLuhan and several high-level academic and cultural institutions, a new series of McLuhan Salons takes place from September 2017 to April 2018 in different dynamic city locations further dissolving the boundaries of the university and the city in bringing the multi-disciplinary multi-practice approaches to bear made famous by Marshall McLuhan.

For this Inaugural Salon we have teamed up with MomenTO – Toronto’s Heritage of Innovation. Join us to kick-off the series!

Thursday, 14 September 2017, 7:00 PM

At Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street, Toronto)

The Twin Legacies of Marshall McLuhan and CityTV

While Marshall McLuhan’s students at the University of Toronto were learning that “the medium is the message” in the 1960s, down on Queen Street West a decade later a team of people were experimenting with a new kind of television. Over the last forty years, CityTV has changed the way the news is reported, brought music videos to Canadian youth, and given us “Speaker’s Corner”. During its heyday in the 1980s and 90s, the station’s mix of innovative programming and its depictions of a young, urban, multicultural Toronto were delivered with a distinctive visual style and occasionally cheeky tone.

Special guest: Michael McLuhan

Join distinguished speaker Ira Wagman (Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication) for a discussion that brings together the legacies of Marshall McLuhan and CityTV as two of Toronto’s innovators in the world of media and communication.
Special guest: Michael McLuhan.

This event is presented by the University of St. Michael’s College, Book & Media Studies Program at the University of Toronto, in conjunction with MomenTO: Toronto’s Heritage of Innovation. We are grateful for the support of Artscape Wychwood Barns, as our venue partner.


The McLuhan Salon series is generously supported by the William and Nona Heaslip Foundation.
MomenTO is produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario’s Ontario 150 Program and the Government of Canada. We are grateful for the support of Artscape Wychwood Barns, as our venue partner.

The event is free and open to the public. You are encouraged to register online. Register Now

Categories: Blog

Two More Recently Published Books on Marshall McLuhan in Poland

McLuhan Galaxy - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:38pm

Rough translation of the title:

The science project of the new Marshall McLuhan: The philosophical consequences of changing forms of communication 

By Bartlomiej Knosala

The author attended the Media Ecology Association conference at St. Mary’s College of California, near San Francisco, this past June where he presented a paper and kindly gave me a copy of his book. It is available for sale here for anyone interested:


Between science and art: Marshall McLuhan’s Theory and Practice of Art 

By Dr. Kalina Kukiełko-Rogozińska

Based on her dissertation, it was published by the National Center for Culture in Poland and received a prestigious award from the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS).

The author in her dissertation analyzed the principal media theories of Canadian Professor Marshall McLuhan, who is now considered to be one of the most prominent media scholars. In addition to systematizing McLuhan’s ideas, Kukiełko-Rogozińska also presents a profile of this prominent media studies scholar. (Source ).


See also the following published on this blog on August 16, 2017: The First Polish Translation of The Gutenberg Galaxy Just Published at .

Categories: Blog

Marshall McLuhan on Discovery Through Suspended Judgment

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 09/04/2017 - 6:15pm

McLuhan’s “challenge and collapse: the nemesis of creativity” July 27, 2014   –   Billy Caba, 1995

In McLuhan’s “challenge and collapse: The nemesis of creativity” [Chapter 7 of Understanding Media] he talks about Bertrand Russell’s “technique of suspended judgment” in the first paragraph. He also compares this to A.N. Whitehead’s “technique of discovery”. Both believed that these were the great discoveries of the 20th century. The “technique of discovery” basically means that whatever someone is trying to discover, they work backward until they get to the very essence of what that is. At first, this was pretty confusing but the example that McLuhan gave helps a lot. For instance, in art, you start off with an effect or an emotion. And then you keep adding to the art work so that it resembles that emotion or effect. The “technique of suspended judgment” as McLuhan put it, goes further. This technique predicts certain outcomes. The example that McLuhan gives is that an unhappy childhood can produce an unhappy adult. 

Connecting this with technology you can see how taming fire can result in a furnace being created; where it can either heat a home, make weapons such as swords, or just cook food.

When it comes down to trying to understand these concepts, I began to realize that I was doing the same thing that A.N Whitehead and Bertrand Russell were doing. They are simply trying to better understand technology and where it comes from. They are trying to better understand the human condition in regards to technology just like I am trying to understand them.

Throughout human history, human beings have constantly been inventing new technologies but also asking questions about that technology and how it changes us. Which is understandable; since the biggest thing separating our species from other animals is our use and creation of technology. The “technique of discovery” and the “technique of suspended judgment” are the techniques used to simply better understand the world we have created around us.

These concepts were created in the 20th century where human interaction and effect on the world was more apparent than ever. A.N. Whitehead was searching for where technology came from where Bertrand Russell’s wanted to predict where technology was going. But like I stated before, the two, as well as McLuhan, are simply trying to better understand the human relationship with technology. Source:


The Technique of Suspended Judgement – was further explained by McLuhan in a speech at the Learned Societies Canada conference in Montreal in June 1961.

“A. N. Whitehead pointed to the discovery of the nineteenth century as the discovery of the technique of invention. Bertrand Russell pointed to the great achievement of the twentieth century as the technique of suspended judgement. That is, the discovery of the process of insight itself, the technique of avoiding the automatic closure or involuntary fixing of attitudes that so easily results from any given cultural situation – The technique of open field perception. Both the discovery of the method of invention and the discovery of the technique of insight not only concern scientists but humanists, and have been freely used by both of what C. P. Snow calls the two cultures. So much so, indeed, that the resonant statistic of about 95% of the greatest scientists of human history now being alive may apply equally to poets, painters and philosophers”… Source: 

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)

Categories: Blog

Why McLuhan Would Have Embraced e-Learning (or, Would He?)

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 6:28pm

By Cait Etherington  –  July 21, 2017

 McLuhan Despised Traditional Education

“To expect a ‘turned on’ child of the electric age to respond to the old education modes is rather like expecting an eagle to swim. It’s simply not within his environment, and therefore incomprehensible.”

McLuhan was a writer and critic, but he was also an educator. For decades, McLuhan taught at the University of Toronto, which is among Canada’s oldest and most prestigious universities. While a respected faculty member, McLuhan was by no means the institution’s most conventional professor, and he certainly didn’t hold back when it came to voicing his opinions on the current state of education. In a still frequently cited interview with Playboy Magazine first published in 1969, McLuhan complained:

“Our entire educational system is reactionary, oriented to past values and past technologies, and will likely continue so until the old generation relinquishes power. The generation gap is actually a chasm, separating not two age groups but two vastly divergent cultures. I can understand the ferment in our schools, because our educational system is totally rearview mirror. It’s a dying and outdated system founded on literate values and fragmented and classified data totally unsuited to the needs of the first television generation.”

However, McLuhan wasn’t necessarily pessimistic about education’s future. Indeed, unlike many of his contemporaries, he believed that new technologies, including television, could be used to fix what he saw as the education systems’ most entrenched problems. But he emphasized, “Before we can start doing things the right way, we’ve got to recognize that we’ve been doing them the wrong way.” The “wrong way,” according to McLuhan was rote learning. The right was a self-driven, interactive, and technologically enhanced approach to education that would engage all a learners’ senses.

McLuhan’s 1960s’ Vision for Electronic Learning

McLuhan teaching at the University of Toronto.

While the idea of eLearning was still in its infancy in the 1960s (this was the decade when PLATO, arguably the world’s first eLearning experiment, was developed and first launched), McLuhan had a clear vision for education’s future. He believed that to fix education, we needed fewer teachers, more technology, and most importantly, a more positive outlook on technology. A historian by training, McLuhan appreciated that in many respects, education hadn’t changed much since the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in the late 15th century. To reach today’s students, we needed to stop relying on primarily visual modes of delivery and create multi-sensory, interactive student-driven learning environments. Without using the term eLearning, he even appeared to predict how this education might begin to take shape.

Asked if he would educate his own children in a school, McLuhan, who in fact had six children, told Playboy, “Certainly not in our current schools, which are intellectual penal institutions. In today’s world, to paraphrase Jefferson, the least education is the best education, since very few young minds can survive the intellectual tortures of our educational system.” So, what was McLuhan’s solution? Could “electronic educational aids” help? According to McLuhan, such tools could help but not without a 360 shift in attitude. It is not enough to put TVs in classrooms, he insisted:

We have to ask what TV can do, in the instruction of English or physics or any other subject, that the classroom cannot do as presently constituted. The answer is that TV can deeply involve youth in the process of learning, illustrating graphically the complex interplay of people and events, the development of forms, the multileveled interrelationships between and among such arbitrarily segregated subjects as biology, geography, mathematics, anthropology, history, literature and languages.

Here, it is important to remember that for McLuhan, television was not a passive medium but rather an active one and one that even brought people across great distances together. In many ways, it is in his optimism about television that one encounters his most fascinating and accurate predictions about the electronic age and future of education.

Why McLuhan Would Have Loved MOOCs

There is no question that had McLuhan lived to be 106, he likely would have been an early adopter of MOOCs. First, McLuhan loved an audience and the larger the better. In the 1960s and 1970s, he appeared on dozens of talk shows and news programs and even once appeared as himself in the famous Woody Allen film Annie Hall. Second, McLuhan would have loved the fact that with MOOCs, learners can work at their own pace and using a variety of mediums that engage different types of senses. Finally, and most notably, McLuhan, who coined the term “Global Village,” would have supported MOOCs as a way to bring together learners from around the globe. He may have even considered MOOCs part of what he envisioned as a necessary “retribalization” process in education and society.

While McLuhan remains a controversial figure in media studies and education, it is difficult to deny his ongoing influence. As he once explained, “If we don’t adapt our educational system to [today’s youths’] needs and values, we will see only more dropouts and more chaos.” This was clearly something he got right and on this basis, it also seems likely that had McLuhan reached the ripe old age of 106, eLearning and perhaps, especially eLearning on a massive scale (as seen in MOOCs) would have been one current trend in education to which he lent his full support.


On the Other Hand: McLuhan’s Reservations About the Electric World

“Discarnate man, according to McLuhan, was electronic man, the human being used to talking to other humans hundreds of miles away on the telephone, used to having people invade his living room and his nervous system via the television set. Discarnate man had absorbed the fact that he could be present, minus his body, in many different places simultaneously, through electronics. His self was no longer his physical body so much as it was an image or pattern of information, inhabiting a world of other images and other patterns of information.”

The effect of this reality was to give discarnate man an overwhelming affinity for ‘a world between fantasy and dream’ and a ‘typically hypnotic state,’ in which he was totally involved in the play of images and information, like a small child fascinated by a kaleidoscope. Psychically, discarnate man suffered a breakdown between his consciousness and his unconscious…

… This destruction of private, personal identity was the unexpected – and toxic – side-effect of the integrated sensuous life McLuhan had happily proclaimed in the early sixties. Now he saw several unpleasant consequences. The children who experienced this destruction were incapable of civilized pursuits”… (From Marchand, P. Marshall (1989). McLuhan: The Medium & the Messenger. Toronto: Random House of Canada, p. 249.)


“The global village is populated with ‘discarnate’ human beings who no longer exist as physical presences; instead the electronic or discarnate person is simply an image or an information pattern, nothing more … “- Marshall McLuhan

“The effects of discarnate existence are intricate and complex, for if the discarnate world is one of high involvement, it is also a world of profound irony and intellectual distancing. This paradox has to be seen to some extent as a consequence of living at the intersection between participation with the electronic media on the one hand, and the decline of an older, private identity on the other. The electronic world, which McLuhan suggests has retrieved myth and simultaneity, has also displaced private personal identity and thus erased some of the older typographical qualities of seriousness, clarity, linearity and the value of public discourse.

Many of the results of the tension of this paradox are discomforting. We are courted with images. We know at some level that we are being lied to by the advertising images that we consume and that much of televisual information is decontextualized and fragmented. We even congratulate ourselves on our ability to see through the hokum of PR image management. We pride ourselves on our mental superiority. At the same time, our direct and intense involvement with images makes us vulnerable to its exhortations. Unlike discursive language, images do not make arguments or state propositions; they convey a mood, a feeling, a sense of well or ill-being without a clear cut articulation of any issues. The image world is essentially ironic. Like other forms of irony, images say what they do not entirely mean. Nobody is obliged to take them literally, and this creates a false sense of detachment. It is a paradoxical form of perception which can be identified as detached involvement. Images make us think we are detached when we feel highly involved.” – Joe Galbo (Communication, York University, Toronto), “McLuhan and Baudrillard: Notes on the Discarnate, Simulations and Tetrads” in McLUHAN STUDIES: Explorations in Culture and Communication, Vol.1, No.1, 1991, p.105
Source: McLuhan on Maui –

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