McLuhan Centre Winter Program Week 6: Monday Night Seminar, Mar 7; Video Lounge, Mar 8 – Picnic in Space

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 8:30pm

Winter/Spring 2016 program of events

CULTURE IS OUR BUSINESS –  Is culture the real business of the city?

MONDAY, 7 MARCH, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

With Chantal Pontbriand, Stephen Stohn & Linda Schuyler,  Jini Stolk

 Culture is our business by Marshall McLuhan

CHANTAL PONTBRIAND is a contemporary art curator and critic whose work is based on the exploration of questions of globalization and artistic heterogeneity. She has curated numerous international contemporary art events: exhibitions, international festivals and international conferences, mainly in photography, video, performance, dance and multimedia installation. She was a founder of “Parachute”
contemporary art magazine in 1975. After curating several major performance events and festivals, she co-founded the FIND (Festival International de Nouvelle Danse), in Montreal and was president and director from 1982 to 2003. In 2015, she was appointed CEO of MOCCA, the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art in Toronto. @chanpont

STEPHEN STOHN & LINDA SCHUYLER is an entertainment lawyer and television producer. He is currently the president of Epitome Pictures Inc., which he and his wife Linda Schuyler founded and which was sold to DHX Media in 2014. Stephen and Linda are best known as the producers of the teen drama series “Degrassi”. For nearly 20 years, until 2009, Stephen was executive producer of the telecast of Canada’s music awards show, The Juno Awards, and during that period was a director and then Chair of Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Linda Schuyler who began as a teacher, is the primary creator and force of the Degrassi series and Instant Star series of teen
programs. @stephenstohn

JINI STOLK, Research Fellow at Toronto Arts Foundation and past Chair of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, has been a leader, connector and advocate in the arts and non-profit communities. She helped create powerful collaborative organizations like ONN and Creative Trust – which became a model for capacity building in the arts – and led major producing organizations (Toronto Dance Theatre) and membership organizations. She cofounded numerous advocacy campaigns and coalitions, and chaired and served on many boards, including Centre for
Social Innovation, Toronto Arts Council, and Toronto Artscape. She has won awards for her contributions to Toronto’s cultural life, and writes on boards, and on building capacity, audiences and space for the arts at @TOArtsFdn




TUESDAY, 8 MARCH, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

‘Picnic in Space’ film still

Picnic in Space is a rare film featuring Marshall McLuhan and his long time collaborator, Harley Parker, a Canadian artist and scholar (1967).


Watch a 39 second trailer to Picnic in Space below:

Location: The Coach House, 39A Queen’s Park Crescent, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto

Categories: Blog

McLuhan Centre Winter Program Week 5: Monday Night Seminar, Feb 29; Workshop, Mar 1; New Explorations Group, Mar 2

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 02/25/2016 - 1:12am

Winter/Spring 2016 program of events

THE ART OF URBAN LIVING – Does Beauty Matter?

MONDAY, 29 FEBRUARY, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

With Sean Martindale, Elyse Parker, Lilie Zendel

Victor Living Room Design

SEAN MARTINDALE is an internationally recognized, Toronto-based, artist and designer. His interventions activate public spaces to  encourage engagement, often focused on ecological and social issues. His playful works question and suggest alternate possibilities for existing spaces, infrastructures and materials found in urban environments. Frequently, Martindale uses salvaged goods and live plants in
unexpected ways that prompt conversations and interaction. His projects have been featured on countless prominent sites online, and in traditional media such as print, radio, broadcast television and film. Among recent projects was Martindale’s major installation for Nuit Blanche Toronto 2015, including video collaborations with JP King.

ELYSE PARKER is a landscape architect and urban designer with responsibility for the Toronto Street Furniture program, the Toronto Walking Strategy (52 actions to make Toronto a more walkable city, including OADA), neighbourhood improvement projects and the City’s Graffiti Management Plan and StART, Toronto’s street art program, which won a Canadian National Leadership award from the Institute of Public Administration in 2015. Her particular passion is “Everyday Urbanism”, the often small interventions and design moves that build and shape cities incrementally and have an extraordinary impact on the everyday lives of the public. @TorontoComms

LILIE ZENDEL has spent over 30 years translating vision into action in the Canadian arts and culture sector. With a background in theatre performance, Lilie began her career at Toronto’s Harbourfront, where by producing over 150 events including the celebrated international World Stage theatre festival, she helped grow this emerging cultural organization into one of the country’s most celebrated performing arts venues. For more than a decade, Lilie lived in New York City where she led the Cultural Affairs section at the Canadian Consulate General. Currently, as Manager of StreetARToronto (Start), Lilie has overseen the creation of six programs that have funded over 100 public murals. @LilieZendel




TUESDAY, 1 MARCH, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

SARA GRIMES Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto
Special guest Andrew Feenberg, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University

Rationalizing Play: A Critical Theory of Digital Gaming – Sara Grimes researches and teaches in the areas of children’s digital media culture(s), digital game studies, critical theories of technology and play. Her current research tracks the growing phenomenon of child generated digital content in digital games and online environments, focusing on what this development means for children’s cultural rights, existing regulatory frameworks and industry standards of practice. The workshop constructs a new framework for the study of games as sites of social rationalization, applying Feenberg’s critical theory of technology.




WEDNESDAY, 2 MARCH, 6:00 – 8:00 PM


Join us with your acoustic or electric guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, bongos, etc. (or if “unmusical” just bring yourself!) to probe the nether regions of existence, wrought of the escape from the bounds of logical, visual space. This will be a night of satire, performance of the burlesque and the bizarre, and consideration of the potential for genuine counter-cultural activity in the new media environment of late capital, which itself thrives on cultural appropriation and transgression.

Categories: Blog

David Cayley on Literacy: The Medium & the Message – Audio Recordings From CBC’s Ideas

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 02/22/2016 - 2:04pm


During the 1930’s and 1940’s two scholars working at the University of Toronto began to outline a new theory of the role played by media of communication in shaping consciousness.  English-born and trained classicist Eric Havelock studied ancient Greece’s transition from an oral to a literate culture and the changes in mentality this brought about.  Harold Innis, in Empire and Communications, linked the rise and fall of empires to the media they had employed – from stone and clay to papyrus, parchment and paper.  In a second book published after his death, The Bias of Communication, Innis broadened his theory andproposed fundamental questions such as:  What assumptions do communications media take from society and what assumptions do they contribute?  What forms of power do they encourage?  Marshall McLuhan, then a young English professor at the University of Toronto, was inspired by Innis and took up these questions.  After he published The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man in 1962, he modestly said that his celebrated book was but a “footnote” to Innis.  A series of influential works followed, notably Understanding Media, and McLuhan’s reputation spread.  The University of Toronto established the Centre for Culture and Technology to further his work and keep him in Toronto.  After McLuhan’s death in 1980, the university tried to close the centre, but protests from around the world and a determined local effort by McLuhan’s inheritors kept it open. 

In 1987 two of these inheritors, David Olson and Derrick de Kerckhove, convened a major conference on “Orality and Literacy,” bringing together many of the scholars who had contributed to the school of thought that Havelock, Innis and McLuhan had founded.  Eric Havelock was there in what proved to be the last year of his life.  Walter Ong, another major contributor to this school, was expected but had to withdraw at the last minute.  I attended for Ideas, establishing a temporary studio in the basement of Emmanuel College, where the conference was held, and interviewing the speakers in whatever intervals the proceedings upstairs allowed.   The result was a three part Ideas series, broadcast in 1988, which I called Literacy: The Medium and the Message.  “Orality and Literacy,” the conference’s title, would have better represented its contents, but I was afraid that orality might be an unfamiliar term to some listeners, and more apt to evoke thumb-sucking than non-literate ways of life. Read the rest of the commentary here: ).

Thanks to Agnes Kruchio for alerting me to the availability of this newly published material on the Internet.

photograph of Havelock Eric Havelock while at Yale

Access the recordings of 3 CBC Ideas programmes by following the links below:

The participants in the programmes are as follows:

Part One: David Olson, Eric Havelock, Jan Swearingen, Derrick de Kerckhove, Jerome Bruner, Carole Feldman, Rangaswamy Narasimhan, Ann Bennet

Part Two: Brian Stock, Ivan Illich, Paul Saenger, David Olson Barry Sanders, Derrick de Kerckhove

Part Three: Eric Havelock, Ivan Illich, David Olson, David Patanayak, Suzanne de Castell, Jan Swearingen, Barry Sanders, Derrick de Kerckhove

Literacy Part One: Download Now

Literacy: The Medium and the Message Part Two

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now Literacy: The Medium and the Message Part Three

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now


Categories: Blog

Marshall McLuhan Award Recipient Speaks at Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School, Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 8:08pm

Joseph Morong

Youth have the power to influence global change, students told

By Evan Boudreau, The Catholic Register, Feb. 19, 2016

TORONTO – Thanks to the Internet today’s youth have the power to influence systemic change on an international scale, Toronto students heard from an award-winning Filipino journalist.

“They have a bigger voice now because of the Internet,” Joseph Morong told students at Toronto’s Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School Feb. 11. “So they have the power to change perspectives.”

The Internet, he said, is a way for youth to have a more powerful presence in the world than their parents were able.

“When you are young you are a little bit more open,” he said. “You don’t have a lot of prejudices that probably your parents would have.”

Morong is no stranger to prejudice. He’s spent the past three years extensively covering attempts to establish peace in the Philippines’ Mindanao region, which was originally established in the 1960s as a safe haven for the country’s Muslim population.

Morong’s work earned him the Marshall McLuhan Fellowship for his investigative reporting. Launched in 1997, the award encourages investigative journalism in the Philippines with the belief that a strong media is essential for a strong democratic society. It is named after McLuhan, the Canadian Catholic communications theorist who explored media and communication in our culture. The fellowship is granted annually by the Canadian embassy in Manila to one journalist nominated and chosen by their peers.

The peace efforts were on the verge of bearing fruit in the form of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, legislation seeking to establish an autonomous political party known as the Bangsamoro, said Morong. But the bill failed to garner the endorsement of 145 of the 240 in the Philippines’ congress needed to pass when put forward in the house on Jan. 27.

“Peace talks… are back to square one,” he said. “It is going to be a very difficult process.” Morong has a strong opinion as to what caused the bill’s demise.

“The congress of the Philippines failed to pass the (bill) … because it is election season and there is a lot of prejudice still against Moro (Muslim) Filipinos,” he told the McLuhan student body.

Michael McLuhan, Marshal’s youngest son, who joined Morong for the final stop of his visit to Canada, told the students that not only do they have the power to tell stories, they also have a role in influencing what stories reporters like Morong cover.

“Making peace a topic of conversation in the press rather than war, that is up to the consumer of the media,” said McLuhan. “That is not the responsibility of the reporters. You have to make it known that those are the stories you want to hear.”

Morong wishes more would answer that call.

“The peace process in journalism is not a sexy topic,” he said. “I wish more people would get more excited when they hear about it. Many times I have asked myself is it just easier to report on war than on peace because peace is boring.”

There are those who yearn to hear about peace. Daniel Licuan, a 17-year-old Marshall McLuhan student originally from the northern region of the Philippines, is one.

“It feels great that someone, a journalist, is making a move against the corruption towards peace with his work,” he said. “He’s trying to make a solution to the corruption.”

For Morong that’s one down, countless more youth to go.

“They have a lot in their hands, the opportunity to change things … (by) highlighting all these stories from their perspective,” he said. “The way to counter that prejudice is through education, through repeating their history from their point of view.”

Source:      –   See also

Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School, 1107 Avenue Road, Toronto,ON

Marshall McLuhan
Categories: Blog

McLuhan Centre Winter Program Week 4: Monday Night Seminar, Feb 22; Workshop, Feb 23; Book Salon, Feb 24

McLuhan Galaxy - Fri, 02/19/2016 - 6:20pm

Winter/Spring 2016 program of events

PEOPLE, PLACE & IMAGINATION – How does the city learn?

MONDAY, 22 FEBRUARY, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

With Misha Glouberman, Kate Marshall, Robert J. Sawyer


MISHA GLOUBERMAN does many things. He is the host of the always-sold-out Trampoline Hall Lectures, a monthly non-expert barroom lecture series. He is the author, with Sheila Heti, of The Chairs Are Where The People Go, which the New Yorker described as a “a triumph of conversational philosophy”. He teaches a course called “How to Talk to People About Things” which helps people be better at coming to agreements and resolving differences. @mishaglouberman

KATE MARSHALL has spent her professional career in a variety of advertising and marketing roles. Over the course of her career she has worked in ad agencies in Toronto, London, New York and China. Client-side, Kate has worked in marketing roles at RBC, Habitat for Humanity Canada, and since 2013 at Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University as Director of Marketing & Communications. Her passion and enthusiasm for Toronto and its stories led Kate to join Heritage Toronto as a volunteer Walk Assistant in 2006, and the Heritage Toronto Board in 2011, where she is the current Chair. @kmbmarshall

ROBERT J. SAWYER the only Canadian to have won all three of the top international science fiction awards: the Nebula Award, Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Award. He has published over 20 novels, including Triggers and the novels of the WWW trilogy. His novel Flashforward was adapted for an ABC TV series of the same name. A passionate advocate for science fiction, Sawyer teaches creative  writing and appears frequently in the media to discuss his genre. He prefers the label “philosophical fiction,” and in no way sees himself as a predictor of the future. @RobertJSawyer




TUESDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

ALESSANDRO DELFANTI ICCIT, University of Toronto Mississauga


Participation and non-participation in digital media Can we draw a lesson from Melville’s novel “Bartleby” that applies to contemporary digital politics? Perhaps, if we explore non-participation as a form of mediated political action rather than as mere passivity. We generally conceive of participation in a positive sense, as a means for empowerment and a condition for democracy. However, digital participation is not the only way to achieve political goals, and practices aimed at abandoning or blocking participatory platforms can be seen as equally politically significant and relevant. In this workshop we will analyze how the technologies and practices that compose the digital sphere force us to reconsider the concept of political participation itself.




WEDNESDAY, 24 February, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Marshall McLuhan + Vilém Flusser’s Communication + Aesthetic Theories Revisited
Video Pool Media Arts Centre, 2015


This book includes discussions McLuhan and Flusser’s influence on media and communication theory as it applies to contemporary and new media art, film, philosophy and politics, and this book would be of immediate interest to readers and researchers interested in: distributed consciousness and telematics; cinema and causality; collective evolution; media and theology; digital culture; Occupy Wall Street and other political movements; cybernetics; contemporary technological art; the ideologies of clinical practice; asemic writing;  institutional critique and many other topics.



Categories: Blog

An Unpublished Letter From Marshall McLuhan to Father Walter Ong, SJ: The Bicameral Mind

McLuhan Galaxy - Wed, 02/17/2016 - 8:40pm

Father Walter J. Ong (1912 – 2003)

Professor Thomas Farrell posted the following unpublished letter from Marshall McLuhan to his former student Walter Ong, dated Sept. 3, 1976, to the listserv of the Media Ecology Association on Feb. 11, 2015. The original letter  is in the Walter J. Ong Archive at Saint Louis University. For the latter see . The letter is republished here by permission of Dr. Farrell and the Walter J. Ong Archive at SLU:

As some of you may know, fifteen letters that Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) sent his former graduate student and friend Walter Ong, S.J. (1912-2003), between 1944 and 1962, have been published in *Letters of Marshall McLuhan* (1987: 162, 185-87, 188-89, 190-91, 215-16, 234, 236-38, 243-44, 251, 280-81, 282, 283, 284, 285, and 285-86). Young McLuhan taught English at Saint Louis University from 1937 to 1944, with a leave of absence one year during which he returned to Cambridge University to work further on his 1943 doctoral dissertation. As part of Ong’s Jesuit training, he did graduate studies in philosophy and English at Saint Louis University from 1938 to 1941. I have 0btained from the Ong archives at Saint Louis University a copy of McLuhan’s unpublished letter to Ong dated September 3, 1976, that is worth quoting here in its entirety:

“The enclosures [a copy of which I do not have] may help you to follow my
work more easily. For thirty years at least [in 1944, McLuhan left Saint
Louis University, where Ong had known him from 1939 to 1941], I have [in
effect] been using the two hemispheres approach under the names of the
*written* and the *oral*, the *visual* and the *acoustic*, the *hot* and
the *cool*, the *medium* and the *message*, *figure* and *ground*, and so
on [but he does not refer specifically to any of his publications in the
1940s in which he explicitly uses any of these binary terms]. Now it turns
out that medicine has been building a great beach-head for this approach
with its new understanding of the two hemispheres of the [human] brain. If
you look at the traits of the left hemisphere, you will discover the
lineaments of the First world – the literate and industrial world – and, on
the other hand, in the right hemisphere you will perceive the
characteristics of the Third world – the world without the phonetic

“During the past century, while the knowledge of the two hemispheres has
been growing, there has also been a new electronic milieu or environment
which automatically pushes the right hemisphere into a more dominant
position than it has held in the Western world since the invention of the
phonetic alphabet. The two hemispheres naturally respond to the milieu or
total surround in which people live and work. *My work has been a dialogue
between the two hemispheres in which the characteristics of the right
hemisphere are given so much recognition that I have been unintelligible to
the left hemisphere people. It happens that the left hemisphere people are
completely out of touch with the results and the formal characteristics of
their own new electric technologies*” (emphasis added).

I have no idea if there are any other unpublished letters from McLuhan to Ong, or if there are any letters from Ong to McLuhan in the Ong archives at Saint Louis University. If Ong sent McLuhan a reply letter, it is not in the Ong archives at Saint Louis University. However, in his 1982 book *Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word* (29-30), Ong briefly discusses the two hemispheres of the human brain in connection with Julian Jaynes’ 1976 book *The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind*.

In *McLuhan Misunderstood: Setting the Record Straight* (2013: 95), Bob Logan reports that McLuhan also wrote letters dated September 14, 1976 (to Jim Striegel), and November 10, 1976 (to Edwin C. Garvey), in which he also discusses the two hemispheres of the human brain in connection with his own work. Those two letters may be available from the McLuhan archives at the National Archives of Canada.

In the latter part of his massively researched 2009 book about the two hemispheres of the human brain, *The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World*, Iain McGilchrist constructs a sweeping account of the ascendancy of the left hemisphere in the prestige culture of our Western cultural history. His account of the left hemisphere’s dominance in our Western cultural history supports McLuhan’s claim about the dominance of the left hemisphere in our Western cultural history.


Thomas J. Farrell
Professor Emeritus
Department of Writing Studies
University of Minnesota Duluth

McLuhan & Ong

Marshall McLuhan (centre) & Walter Ong (to his right, seated) at SLU

Categories: Blog

Multimedia Artist Dimitri Nieuwenhuizen on Marshall McLuhan’s Influence

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 02/13/2016 - 8:08pm

Palais de L' Electricite (Electricity Palace) at the 1900 Expo.

Palais de L’ Electricite (Electricity Palace) at the 1900 Expo.

“All media are extensions of some human faculty—psychic or physical.” —Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is The Massage

In front of the Eiffel Tower the main attraction of the 1900 world’s fair in Paris was the Palais de l’Electricité. Lit with thousands of electrical lights, it presented electricity to a large consumer market and a new era took off. In the century to come, a form of energy nobody quite expected made mankind’s ideas of the ultimate extension of the human faculty lift off in record time. At the same time, the world went through several radical cycles in society, from bright moments of insight to dark periods to a multitude of fights for freedom. As one of the few students who used coding as a tool I was aware of Marshall McLuhan’s notion of the Mass Age when I graduated in 1997 from the Design Academy in The Netherlands.


Considering McLuhan’s notion that “the wheel is an extension of the foot, the book is an extension of the eye, clothing an extension of the skin, electric circuitry an extension of the central nervous system,” I made a small exhibition attempting to create awareness of the impact of these extensions to the mind at the moment the computer would become part of the extension. I needed five installations to cover all physical senses, seven to come as close as I could to the psychic, and all of them interactive, using Macromedia Director, to involve the visitor as much as possible. I was interested in the effect of cybernetics on our thinking, the way it would change how we see ourselves—just as, for instance, the camera did, in particular with the Earthrise photo taken by astronaut William Anders in 1968 and featured on the cover of Whole Earth Catalog a year later.

“Earthrise” taken on December 24, 1968

In the nearly 20 years since my graduation, technological developments have taken off even more. Looking back from now one could imagine that since the Palais de l’Electricité we’re about halfway to actually knowing where this evolution will truly lead us to. Along with the scientific progress, how will information and stories fluidly move from one medium to the next? What will we filter out along the way? Will we only share and like what can be bought, or also what is not for sale? What do we choose to see, or who is the one that makes that choice? And will borders between the digital and physical completely vanish when VR and AR are becoming consumer products in 2016? An Internet of Humans in between reality and delusion? Or would the extension eventually become the replacement of what is was supposed to extend?

As Cedric Price asked himself: “Technology is the answer, but what was the question?” Maybe it’s about time to formulate the question. We should use the hyperconnected knowledge as a find-engine to create a new human process of self-generated thoughts about the future. Let us use technology as a tool to take us from doubt to a curiosity driven by an idealistic observation. We have reached the point where a long series of smaller changes in cybernetics became significant enough to cause a larger, more important change. We are the tipping-point generation.

Data as an extension of the superorganism of all mankind’s thought.

See photo here:

Dimitri Nieuwenhuizen is a visual philosopher in art, design and technology. He studied at the Technical University of Delft and the Design Academy Eindhoven. Within his autonomous and applied work he researches from the perspective of several disciplines the affect and effect of digital culture with the aim of humanizing the unhuman and exploring the missing links between the digital and the physical. Besides giving talks at numerous places around the world, he teaches at several art academies including Sandberg Institute Amsterdam, curates and initiates exhibitions, symposia, thinktanks, and hackathons, and is one of the supervisors of the Sandberg@Mediafonds masterclass. He is co-director of the multidisciplinary design studio LUST and the research-based art and technology laboratory LUSTlab. Here new pathways for art and design are explored on the cutting edge where new media, information technologies, performance, architecture, urban systems, graphic and industrial design overlap. (Source: )

Categories: Blog

Elizabeth Eisenstein, RIP (October 11, 1923 – January 31, 2016)

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 5:52pm

On February 11, 2016 Lance Strate informed the Media Ecology Association of the passing of Elizabeth Eisenstein with the following:-

I have heard from a few different sources that Elizabeth Eisenstein, author of The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, and the abridged version, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, as well as The First Professional Revolutionist: Fillippo Michele Buonarroti; Grub Street Abroad: Aspects of the French Cosmopolitan Press from the Age of Louis XIV to the French Revolution; and Divine Art, Infernal Machine: The Reception of Printing in the West, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on January 31st.

Her work on the history of printing stands as one of the great achievements in media ecology scholarship, and exemplifies historical research in a media ecological mode. I first heard her speak at one of Neil Postman’s media ecology conferences back in the 80s, she gave the keynote address at the MEA’s 3rd annual convention at Marymount Manhattan College, and was a featured speaker at our 6th meeting at Boston College.

By the way, she was also a helluva tennis player. Just thought it worth mentioning. She will most certainly be missed within the media ecology community.


A Short Biography

Eisenstein, one of America’s most distinguished historians, achieved worldwide recognition while serving as the Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History at U-Michigan, a position she held from 1975 until her retirement in 1988.

Eisenstein (Photo courtesy Elizabeth L. Eisenstein)

Since the time she completed her doctorate at Radcliffe College in 1953, Eisenstein’s scholarship has demonstrated three qualities that only rarely come together: meticulous original research, analysis that has become a focus of historical debate and interpretations that are adopted across many scholarly fields.

Her early work examined the emergence of the professional revolutionary as a new historical type and challenged the dominant view of the French Revolution as a middle-class rebellion in a way so fundamental and stimulating that her work became the focus of several influential symposia and special issues of scholarly journals.

Her subsequent research included the 1979 study “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change,” which has had international influence. Based on massive research in many languages, it examines the conditions in Western Europe that encouraged the spread of printing and demonstrates the crucial role of printing in the dissemination of Renaissance culture, the disruption of Western Christendom and the rise of modern science.

This work shows how printing altered the meaning of memory and conceptions of time and history, and it has been the subject of countless symposia, conferences, scholarly articles and entire books that reflect on the “Eisenstein theory.”

Eisenstein’s professional honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She also served as a Guggenheim Fellow and in 2002 received the Award for Scholarly Distinction from the American Historical Association. (Source: )


In the following 9-minute video Elizabeth Eisenstein discusses From scribal scarcity to the disruptive text.


Categories: Blog

A Recent Review of The Global Village: Transformations In World Life & Media In The 21st Century (1989) by Bruce Powers, Marshall McLuhan

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 2:48pm

Marshall McLuhan’s collaboratively-written books, especially the ones published after his death in 1980, do not receive the review and critical attention they deserve, which needs to change. Therefore it was a pleasure to read the following Kirkus Review which, though short, is well-considered, which was published in print in 1989 but only online in 2012. My thanks to Martin Starr for bringing this to my attention………Alex


THE GLOBAL VILLAGE Transformations In World Life And Media In The 21st Century by Bruce Powers, Marshall McLuhan KIRKUS REVIEW A quarter century ago, media guru McLuhan (d. 1980) wrote his famous Understanding Media. Now, in a posthumous volume cowritten by McLuhan’s friend Powers (Communications Studies/Niagara U.), the premises of that work are updated. This collaboration stems from research undertaken by the authors at the Centre for Culture and Technology in Toronto. Their analysis of the worldwide impact of video-related technologies takes the myth of Narcissus (central to Understanding Media) a step further. McLuhan was struck by the fact that when men first went to the moon, we expected photographs of craters but, instead, the quintessential symbol of that adventure was the dramatic picture of earth–ourselves: “All of us who were watching had an enormous reflexive response. We ‘outered’ and ‘innered’ at the same time. We were on earth and the moon simultaneously.” The authors refer to this kind of moment as a “resonating interval”–“the true action in the event was not on earth or on the moon, but rather in the airless void between. . .” In their analysis, this resonating interval represents an invisible borderline between visual and acoustic space. The distinction between the two “spaces” marks the major premise here, with visual space representing the old traditions of Western Civilization–left-brain-oriented, linear, quantitative reasoning–and acoustic space representing right-brain, pattern-producing, qualitative reasoning. Because of electronic communications, the authors believe, these two mind-sets are “slamming into each other at the speed of light.” While most societies view themselves through the past, usually a century behind, present-day changes occur so rapidly that this “rearview mirror” doesn’t work anymore. By use of what they call the “tetrad,” the authors contend that they can postulate four stages in any invention or trend to determine what the final result will be–what it will “flip over” into (e.g., money flipped over to credit cards; the telephone to “ominpresence.” as in teleconferencing; cable TV should flip over to home broadcasting; electronic-funds transfer should flip over to “an intense state of credit-worthiness as pure status”). Dense, heavily technological writing–but with the occasional insight that reminds us of what once brought such renown to McLuhan. Source: Pub Date: April 1st, 1989   –   ISBN: 0195079108   –   Page count: 244 pp   –   Publisher: Oxford University Press   –   Review Posted Online: May 21st, 2012   –   Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1989 Earthrise Earthrise is a photograph of the Earth taken by astronaut William Anders in 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. Nature photographer Galen Rowell declared it “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”.  Created: December 24, 1968
Categories: Blog

McLuhan Centre Winter Program Week 3: Monday Night Seminar, Feb 8; Video Lounge, Feb 9; Book Salon, Feb 10

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 12:59pm

Winter/Spring 2016 program of events

THE COMMUNITY SPEAKS – How do we decide what matters in the city?

MONDAY, 8 FEBRUARY, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

With Mary Donohue, David Miller, Richard Stursberg

MARY DONOHUE was mamed as one of the 18 Outstanding Women In Tech, 2015, and Diversity MBA’s top 50 under 50 in 2015. Dr. Donohue is a passionate advocate of revolutionizing today’s workforce training through technology and developing internal talent. Her book with Jack Canfield became a best seller on Amazon in the both the US and Canada in September 2015. As Founder of the Donohue Learning Systems™, she designs technologies that provide people with a roadmap to achieve a better work/life balance. Dr. Mary is a world-renowned speaker and TEDX presenter, television personality and columnist. Her work appears in the Huffington Post and Financial Post.

DAVID MILLER is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was the 63rd Mayor of Toronto who served from 2003 to 2010. He entered politics as a member of the New Democratic Party, although his mayoral campaign and terms in office were without any formal party affiliation. He did not renew his party membership in 2007. In 2011, Miller assumed a position with the World Bank as an advisor on urban issues. In 2013, he was appointed as president and CEO of WWFCanada, the Canadian division of the international World Wildlife
RICHARD STURSBERG is a Canadian Media Executive. He has been head of all English services at the CBC, Executive Director of  Telefilm Canada, Chairman of the Canadian Television Fund, President of Starchoice and Cancom (now Shaw Direct), President of the Canadian Cable Television Association and Assistant Deputy Minister of Culture and Broadcasting for the Government of Canada. He is currently President of Aljess, a boutique consulting firm. He is the author of The Tower of Babble (2012), named one of the best books of the year by the Globe and Mail.




TUESDAY, 9 FEBRUARY, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

A screening program showcases some rare films and documentaries that feature McLuhan’s intellectual influence during the Sixties and Seventies. A panel discussion follows the screening.

Marshall McLuhan - 1967. Philosopher and scholar Herbert Marshall MCLUHAN. - Wayne Miller
Television documentary written and hosted by Tom Wolfe. Produced and directed by Stephanie McLuhan-Ortved (1984).




WEDNESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Finding McLuhan: The Mind / The Man / The Message
University of Regina Press, 2015

With Gary Genosko, Adam Lauder, Jaqueline McLeod Rogers

In 1965, Tom Wolfe famously asked of Marshall McLuhan: “Suppose he is the oracle of the modern times: what if he is right?” Fifty years later, McLuhan’s biographer Douglas Coupland, McLuhan’s sons, and sixteen scholars explore the many ways in which McLuhan’s predictions have come true. Engaging with McLuhan’s remarkable legacy and responding to his call to participate actively in understanding technologies, Finding McLuhan offers relevant and timely insights for readers encountering him for the first time and for those re-encountering and re-evaluating him.


Categories: Blog

New Book Announcement: The Future of the Library: From Electric Media to Digital Media

McLuhan Galaxy - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 11:59am
The Future of the Library

Logan, Robert K. / McLuhan, Marshall

The Future of the Library: From Electric Media to Digital Media

Series: Understanding Media Ecology – Volume 3;  Year of Publication: 2016

PETER LANG: New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2016. XVI, 238 pp., num. b/w ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-3264-3 pb.  (Softcover) –  See

Book synopsis

Originally written in the late 1970s, this book was untouched for more than 35 years. McLuhan passed away before it went to press, but Logan always intended to finish it. Even though much has changed in the three decades since work on the project was halted, many of the points that McLuhan and Logan made in the era of ‘electric media’ are highly cogent in the era of ‘digital media.’
Looking at the future of the library from the perspective of McLuhan’s original vision, Logan has carefully updated the text to address the impact of the Internet and other digital technologies on the library. McLuhan prophetically foreshadowed the transformative effect that computing would have on «mass library organization,» saying it would become obsolescent. It is perhaps no coincidence that a key theme of the book is that libraries must strive to create context given today’s hyper information overload. The authors believe this task can be achieved by putting together a compact library of books providing an overview of human culture and scholarship.
This book is based on the original text that McLuhan and Logan wrote. Logan’s updates are integrated in the main text and clearly identified by markers. This preserves the flow of the original text and at the same time provides updates in the context of the original study. Other significant updates include two new chapters: Chapter 6 provides a LOM (Laws of the Media) treatment of the new post-McLuhan digital media, and Chapter 7 discusses the impact of these media on today’s library. A second part to the concluding Chapter has been added to update some of the conclusions reached in 1979, and there is also a new preface.


Contents: A Note to Readers – The Library: The Physical Extension of Man’s Memory – (Mother of the Muses) – A Study of Media – Alphabet, Mother of Invention – The Library: A Figure in Many Different – Understanding the New Ground of the Library – Laws of the Media (Lom) and the Library – The Impact of Electricity and Modern Technology on the Library – Laws of the Media for Post-McLuhan Digital Media – The Impact of Digital Technology on the Library – Book Glut, Information Overload, and Pattern Recognition – The Compact Library and Human Scale – The Public Library: Past, Present, and Future Trends – The Library and Education – Future of the Book – Library Futures: Summing Up.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Robert K. Logan (PhD., MIT, 1965) is Professor Emeritus of Physics and St. Michael’s College Fellow at the University of Toronto. He is the Chief Scientist of sLab at OCAD University. He is the author of many books and articles including Understanding New Media: Extending Marshall McLuhan (Peter Lang, 2010). The book follows on from their joint authorship of Alphabet, mother of invention (1977).
Marshall McLuhan (PhD Cambridge, 1943) was a Professor of English at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto from 1946 to his passing in 1980. He was the founder of the field of media ecology and author of many revolutionary books and articles including The Gutenberg Galaxy, Understanding Media and The Medium is the Massage. He is the originator of such iconic phrases as «the global village» and «the medium is the message.»

Series Understanding Media Ecology. Vol. 3   –  General Editor: Lance Strate

An excerpt from the original McLuhan-Logan manuscript was originally published on this blog in April of 2015. You can read that excerpt here:

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Libary (part of Robarts Libary at U of Toronto)

Categories: Blog

At Edmonton’s New McLuhan House, the Medium is the Message

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 8:58pm

This home at 11342 – 64th Street was once the home of famous Canadian media visionary Marshall McLuhan. Photo by Alex Kuskis

Published on: January 28, 2016 The medium is the message, cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan famously declared. If architecture is the medium, Edmonton’s newest micro-museum, McLuhan House has a simple message: 

Welcome In.

The little wooden Arts and Crafts cottage at 11342 64th St., is one of the oldest homes in the historic Highlands neighbourhood. Built in 1912, atop a small hill, it was designed for real-estate promoter Herbert McLuhan, his beautiful actress-wife Elsie, and their baby son Marshall.

The 1,500-sq.-foot home was designed by acclaimed local architects Arthur Nesbitt and Ernest Morehouse, who were also responsible for much flashier Highlands homes, including the Holgate and McGrath Mansions.

It was here that McLuhan, one of Canada’s most influential public intellectuals, learned to ride a tricycle. It was here that he went sliding in his wicker snow sled.

The McLuhan family fell on hard economic times. They left Edmonton for Winnipeg in 1915, but retained ownership of the house until 1923. It has only changed hands a few times since.

In 2012, Arts Habitat Edmonton, a not-for-profit which creates and manages affordable living and work spaces for artists, bought the house for $475,000. Since then, it has spent $150,000 more to renovate the heritage home, restoring its original elements, bringing it in line with modern building codes.

The City of Edmonton contributed $75,000 to the down payment and another $50,000 toward the heritage renovations. The province added another $22,000.

This Thursday, the smartly refurbished McLuhan House makes its public debut.


“I like the fact that it’s a little modest house. It’s really a gem,” says Linda Huffman, Arts Habitat’s executive director. “It’s not a mansion. It’s a really good example of the everyday.” 

In part, it’s an interpretive centre and photo gallery, celebrating its famous namesake.

The house also provides office space for Arts Habitat and the Edmonton Poetry Festival. There’s a big studio space with lots of natural light in the renovated garage, soon to be home to the McLuhan House official artist-in-residence. The sunny and open main floor will also be available for rent for smaller arts events, such as poetry readings, book launches or musical recitals. Arts Hab also has plans to revamp the home’s backyard boathouse as more studio space, perhaps for writers.

Because the house is in the middle of a residential street, it had to be rezoned for offices. That required lots of neighbourhood consultation and engagement.

“We really wanted to make sure the community would welcome us”, she says. “But everybody seems very supportive. They’re looking forward to the house being active.”

Huffman’s team worked closely with local architect David Murray and local interior designer Johanne Yakula, who both specialize in period restoration.

They strove to restore the home’s original feel, replacing the asphalt roof with cedar and choosing paint colours to reflect the period. But there are also post-modern touches. Instead of a floral wallpaper frieze in the high-ceiling living room, for example, the sort of thing that would have be typical of the era, they opted for a painted frieze of some of McLuhan’s most famous aphorisms.

There’s also a multimedia installation created by local artist and McLuhan scholar Marco Adria, an interactive sculpture made out of flickering TV screens, where the viewer’s real-time video image shares pride of place with archival television footage. 

The highlight of the interpretive centre is its collection of archival photos of the young McLuhan and his family. Most have never been published or seen publicly. They were a gift to the museum from McLuhan’s youngest son, Michael, a professional photographer.

The striking photographs don’t just capture McLuhan’s Highlands childhood. In our electric age of ephemeral digital images, they are a remarkable, physical evocation of our community’s past. They remind us that while we may live in an online global village, we also inhabit a real place, with real stories. And while it’s true that McLuhan’s connection to Edmonton is a bit tenuous, McLuhan House isn’t just about the writer and his ideas. It’s just as much about our shared social history. 

In a city with a sorry track record of preserving its architecture, it’s wonderful to see this small jewel shimmer, providing a glimpse of the past and affordable workspace for today’s artists and arts organizations. 

“All words, in every language, are metaphors,” McLuhan said.

I don’t know if all houses are metaphors. But this one is, a metaphor for our evolving appreciation of our local culture.

Every society honours its live conformists and its dead troublemakers,” McLuhan also said.

How lucky to be able to honour our homegrown troublemaker, here and now. (Source: )


McLuhan House in 1929

Categories: Blog

Monday Night Seminar Jan 25 on Community, Digital World, & the Global Village with Speakers Rohinton Medhora, Bonnie Rubenstein, & Nora Young.

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:36am
McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology - University of Toronto's photo.McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology - University of Toronto's photo.McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology - University of Toronto's photo.   McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology - University of Toronto's photo.

McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology – University of Toronto added 10 new photos to the album: Monday Night Seminar January 25th – Is There a Global Village?

What a wonderful inaugural Monday Night Seminar on community, our digital world, and the global village! Thank you to everyone who came out and for sharing your insights and thoughtful questions with us, especially our wonderful speakers, Rohinton Medhora, Bonnie Rubenstein, and Nora Young.

To attend the Monday Night Seminars, click here to download a detailed 28 page PDF of the Winter/Spring schedule: . Seating is limited. Follow the instructions to reserve a seat for the seminar(s) of your choice. 

New Coach Hose

Categories: Blog

McLuhan Centre Winter Program Week 2: Monday Night Seminar, Feb 1: Workshop Feb 2 & New Explorations Group Feb 3

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 12:14pm

Winter/Spring 2016 program of events

THE INVISIBLE VILLAGE – Where is our cultural memory?

Monday, 1 February, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

ADRIANA IERACI is an entrepreneur and designer with a background in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto. She works with agile start-up processes and design methodologies to create new product ideas. Adriana founded Conveyor Built, a design consultancy and innovation skills development firm to explore Internet of Things technologies. She founded Get Your Bot On!, a community of roboticists and enthusiasts to collaborate on robot prototypes in a hackathon format and discuss topics in robotics, sharing ideas at the monthly meetup. Adriana teaches start-up methods and design at the University of Toronto coaching her students in developing their own product ideas. She is currently working on an electronic jewellery product with a haptic interface.

HEATHER RUMBALL is the President of the Toronto Public Library Foundation. She joined the Foundation in December, 2003 having worked as Vice President, Marketing & Fund Development for the Odyssium (science centre) in Edmonton, Alberta. Prior to that Heather worked for the Stratford Festival as Annual Fund Director. A native Torontonian – and one of the city’s biggest fans – Heather is passionate about the Library’s central role in building a city of life-long readers, learners and creators for a successful  Toronto, and how the Foundation can inspire giving in support of exemplary collections, groundbreaking programs and services, and innovative community spaces.

TOM SHERMAN is an artist and writer. He works across media (video, radio, performance, print and the Web). From a phenomenological perspective, he is focused on describing environments and authors all manner of texts. His interdisciplinary work has been exhibited internationally, including shows at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Biennale. He published Before and After the IBomb: An Artist in the Information Environment in 2002. He received the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Art in 2010. Sherman is a professor in the Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University in New York state.



Tuesday, 2 February, 6:00 – 9:00 PM

cosmin munteanuCOSMIN MUNTEANU ICCIT, University of Toronto Mississauga
The rise of the intelligent machines – bridging or widening the digital divide for underserved users? In this workshop I will survey several examples of intelligent new media interfaces that can provide support for underserved users, will bring up for debate issues of online privacy, safety, and isolation for such users, discuss the role of interactive interfaces in making the information-centric society less threatening and more accessible, and argue that emerging smart interactive technologies can both help and hinder our efforts to close the digital divide. I will then propose for discussion several possible short- and long-term directions that can bring us closer to eliminating or at least reducing this divide that in many ways affects all of us.




Wednesday, 3 February, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

A collective experiment in how to be human in the C21st. Probing the hidden structures of new media environments, the New Explorations Group seeks not only to conceive but also to perceive the ways in which our psyches and cultures are being transformed by our intimate relationships with (de-)evolving technologies. This series is curated by Adam Pugen (UofT iSchool).


We explore the work of Glenn Gould, the influence of Marshall McLuhan on Gould’s philosophy of performance, and the relevance of McLuhanesque/Gouldian aesthetics to the current state of music composition and distribution. We refocus our investigation to consider the question: in an era of constant recording and remix, how does the experience of spontaneity fare in our daily performances of self? Bring your old/new recording technologies and prepare to record and be recorded!

Probing the hidden structures of new media environments, the New Explorations Group seeks not only to conceive but also to perceive the ways in which our psyches and cultures are being transformed by our intimate relationships with (de-)evolving technologies. Open to all interested parties.

Glenn Gould and McLuhan

McLuhan & Glenn Gould were friends & enjoyed debating on the radio. (Courtesy of the Estate of Marshall McLuhan)

Categories: Blog

Derrick de Kerckhove (English version): “The problem is either you control language or it controls you”

McLuhan Galaxy - Sun, 01/24/2016 - 6:22pm

 Derrick de Kerckhove

Publicado por

Although being almost 70 years old, Derrick de Kerckhove has a vitality and an energy that many people under 40 would want for themselves. Derrick, who used to work closely with Marshall McLuhan, is now a Professor of the French Language department at the University of Toronto and of the Sociology department at the Federico II University in Naples, scientific director of the Italian magazine Mediaduemila and research director at the UOC.

The following are a few excerpts from a longer interview, which can be read in its entirety here:

You started studying French language and Literature.

It was an accident. Actually, it wasn’t too bad. It cultivates your sensibility and you do become critically aware… you learn methods of looking and feeling. But I think I would have probable been a better architect. I loved being an architect, but I didn’t realize it was so good.

Afterwards you studied Sociology and new technologies.

That was an accident too. Now that I think of it, my life is nothing but a series of wonderful accidents. I was very much bored by French Literature and my wife, who was my fiancée then, said that if I was bored at the University of Toronto because you are only at the French department you are stupid. You should go and listen to the famous people here, who are really well-known around the world for being who they are. She gave the names of Marshall McLuhan, Northrop Frye and Robertson Davies. Robertson Davies was a writer, a novelist, and he was OK. Frye was a really famous literary critic, a big guy, but I didn’t find it that exciting. ButMcLuhan… that was amazing! I couldn’t understand anything he said. Maybe that’s why it was interesting!

Nowadays many people have always an internet access with them, such a mobile phone. And when there is some argument about some detail (i.e. the year when a battle took place or who directed some movie) there is always someone who googles it and comes with the right answer. Is this something good?

It’s absolutely wonderful! It’s an augmented memory. Would you rather not have it?


Let’s talk a bit about Marshall McLuhan. You consider him your master.

Absolutely. Without him I wouldn’t be here.

He said that “the medium is the message”. Does this mean that everything is done and said and we cannot expect anything new to appear in arts or culture?

No, what is happening now is as big as the Renaissance, and it could be much bigger. It is a big change of being. It is not just a change of mood or politics, it is a change of being. Exactly where we are going I am not absolutely sure, but we are exploring possible ways of being. Cinema is a good example, I call it “Pinocchio 2.0”: Blade runner is one example of being a replicant, Tron is going inside the machine, Avatar is going 3D into the screen and beyond, The Truman show is being the focus of attention of the whole world not knowing that one is such… I used to throw away the American cinema because of the happy endings and so, but no, they are very intelligent and they know what they are looking for. I have always been fascinated by the way we project our image. That’s why I like Stelarc. In fact, the first time I met him was here in Barcelona. I drove all the way from Nice to Barcelona just to hear Stelarc. I left my car in the middle of the highway or somewhere, I went to listen to Stelarc and when I was back, of course, my car was gone. It cost me a lot of money to recuperate it.

Was it worth it?

Yes, it was an amazing talk. He is an example of what I was saying, he is trying different ways of being human. Mostly Physical, but psychological too. He is as famous as Marcel·lí Antúnez, globally. He has grown himself another ear. Very disgusting. And I told him one day: “Stelarc, you are the most disgusting guy I have ever seen”. And he said: “Me, disgusting?” But then I said it was a big compliment.

McLuhan wrote also about the “global village”, and it was in the sixties, when no one could even imagine internet. Was he like a 20th century Jules Verne?

No, it was different. He discovered that teaching Literature to young American students was hopeless, they didn’t get it. So he questioned which was their culture, and he saw this advertising. He wrote a book, The mechanical bride, where he was actually analyzing pictures and asking the people what did it say to them. They thought that was interesting. And that’s how he began studying culture as an object of analysis.

In your book The alphabet and the brain you explain why we write from left to right.

Yes, the reason why we write to the right and not to the left, like Arabs or Hebrews, is because our alphabet is a continuous series of signs: consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel, so it is a unidirectional succession of representations of syllables, obliging the mind to analyze what we read. Whereas if you have to guess, you have to have an iterative look, what is more important is grabbing the image, not analyzing it, and that’s why people write to the left. The shift from the left to the right came from the change of the basic structure of the writing system, and it changed because Semitic languages make a big separation between consonants and vowels. Consonants are the substance of the word, the “lexikon”, and the vowels are the grammatical connection between the words. The Greek is an Indo-European language, which means that the meaning of the words, the “lexikon”, is not made just by consonants, but by consonants and vowels. And that’s what the Greeks did. They took the Phoenician system, a Semitic language, and adapted it. In fact, the Greeks wrote continuously, there was no separation between words or sentences, you had to read aloud and figure it out.

More about Derrick de Kherkhove

The Skin of Culture





Categories: Blog

McLuminations 16:1 – Global Village Anxiety, The Marshall McLuhan Salon, Embassy of Canada, Berlin

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 8:55pm

02/06/2016 | 14:00 EST | Marshall McLuhan Salon, Embassy of Canada

transmediale and the Marshall McLuhan Salon of the Embassy of Canada present a new edition of the discussion series McLuminations, titled Global Village Anxiety. The series is curated and moderated by Baruch Gottlieb, featuring the media researchers Andrew Clement and Steffi Winkler. The participants will engage in a conversation on anxieties about future technologies and how mediated forms of communication can either heighten or alleviate such anxieties. The conversants interact with McLuhan’s ideas through archival video clips, warming up the “cool media” of video through an irreverent live exchange.  

McLuminations 15.1

The Marshall McLuhan Salon has the largest audiovisual archive about the media philosopher Herbert Marshall McLuhan outside of Canada, and will be open during the festival.

McLuminations, a special series of video discussion events

Initiated and directed by Baruch Gottlieb as a special series of events during the McLuhan Centennial Year 2011, McLuminations aims to elaborate in a form of lively discussions the electronic media experience. It employs archival video material of Marshall McLuhan in attempts to articulate the contours of what McLuhan calls the “in depth” participation of the inhabitants of an instantaneous electronic media environment.

Doors open: 13:30 The event is in English, admission is free. Please register below.Please present a valid photo-ID at the door and allow sufficient time for Embassy security. Address: Marshall McLuhan Salon, Embassy of Canada, Leipziger Platz 17, 10117 Berlin, U/S Potsdamer Platz 

Online registration                                                Source:

Categories: Blog

David Cayley on Harold Innis

McLuhan Galaxy - Fri, 01/22/2016 - 5:11pm

 Harold Innis (1894 – 1952) 

My thanks to Phil Rose for pointing out this important media ecology resource.

From David Cayley’s Website: For more than thirty years (1981-2012) I made radio documentaries for CBC Radio’s Ideas series. The most recent of the more than 250 programmes remain available on the Ideas website, but the rest languish unknown, unheard and inaccessible in the CBC Archives. Because the means are now available to keep these public broadcasts in circulation, I have developed this site in order to share this work with students, scholars and interested members of the public. Each week I will post and introduce a new series until all this work is archived and available. I have also included links to the series that remain available from Ideas; a list of my books, articles and lectures; a complete and chronological inventory of my broadcasting work since 1980; and a place where I can occasionally share current writing. (

The Legacy of Harold Innis

1994 was the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Harold Innis, a pioneering Canadian scholar who was the source of several of the main currents of Canadian thought.  His studies of the fur trade and the cod fishery produced a persuasive account of how the production of staple commodities shaped the pattern of Canadian economic and political development.  His work on the ways in which communications media influence influence basic perceptions of time and space gave birth to the “Toronto school” of media ecology and had a decisive influence on thinkers like Marshall McLuhan who followed.  And, finally, he set an inspiring example for Canadian scholarship, struggling all his life against the biases – his word –  which he felt beset intellectual life and leaving behind, at his death in 1952, a clairvoyant critique of the standardization and industrialization of the university that, in his view, was then already well underway. 

The anniversary year was an occasion for conferences all across Canada.  I attended several and then assembled a few of the interpreters who impressed me most in this series of documentaries, first broadcast in December of that year. The following are from David Cayley’s Podcasts:

The Legacy of Harold Innis: Part One  (Audio, 56 minutes) –

—> The influences that formed Innis’s thought & his staples studies in economics

The Legacy of Harold Innis: Part Two (Audio, 57 minutes) –

—> Innis’s hopes & fears for Western civilization embodied in his communications studies

The Legacy of Harold Innis: Part Three (Audio, 57 minutes) –

—> The academic who believed that the university must remain an ivory tower, the nature of knowledge & the proper place of universities within culture

David Cayley is a Toronto-based Canadian writer and broadcaster, who worked on CBC Radio One’s program Ideas from 1981 to 2012. Cayley was the winner of the 2014 John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology, awarded  by the Media Ecology Association.

His written works include:

  • Ideas on the Nature of Science (2009) (Toronto: Goose Lane Editions)
  • The Rivers North of the Future: The Testament of Ivan Illich (2005) (Toronto: Anansi Press)
  • Puppet Uprising (2003) (Toronto: CBC Radio Canada)
  • Corruption of Christianity Illich, Ivan (Author) Cayley, David (Editor) (2000) (Toronto: Anansi Press)
  • Northrop Frye in Conversation interviews with Northrop Frye (2000) (Toronto: Anansi Press)
  • Expanding Prison (1998) (Toronto: Anansi Press)
  • George Grant in Conversation interviews with George Grant (1995) (Toronto: Anansi Press)
  • Ivan Illich in Conversation interviews with Ivan Illich (1992) (Toronto: Anansi Press)

Harold Innis in the uniform of World War I’s Canadian Expeditionary Force

Categories: Blog

Faith, Science, Climate Change and Pope Francis’s Encyclical Laudato Si: A Symposium, St. Michael’s College, Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 01/19/2016 - 11:57am

Laudato si2

Saint Michael’s College Science Association and the University of St. Michael’s College will present a two hour symposium on climate change and the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si.

The symposium Faith, Science, Climate Change and Pope Francis’s Encyclical Laudato Si will take place in

Charbonnel Lounge on January 28, 2016 from 4 to 6 pm.

The Charbonnel Lounge is located in Elmsley Hall (81 St. Mary St.) on the St . Michael’s College campus

The focus of the symposium is a discussion and a dialogue among scientists and theologians of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si with its focus on global warming and climate change. In the encyclical Pope Francis calls for such a dialogue. In Paragraph 13 and 14 of Laudato Si he wrote: “Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.” Later in Paragraph 62 he wrote: “Science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both.” The purpose of this symposium is to enter into the dialogue between science and religion that Pope Francis has called for.

To that end Moira McQueen will give a twenty minute key note address. There will then follow a panel discussion with scientists and theologians moderated by Robert K. Logan. The panel will include Paul Seungoh Chung, Dennis O’Hara, Richard Peltier, and Father Leo Reilly. Following the panel presentations there will be a Q & A session with the audience.

Dr. Moira McQueen graduated in law from the University of Glasgow, Scotland and practiced law there specializing in family law and juvenile court. She has a Master of Divinity and a PhD in Moral Theology from St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology. She is the Executive Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute. The Institute has a mandate to conduct research and education in bioethics from a Roman Catholic perspective, and pursues bioethical issues in palliative and end of life care, reproductive technologies, stem cell experimentation and regenerative medicine, genetics, mental health and other current areas. She is also a member of the Vatican Theological Commission that advise the Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Dr. Paul Seungoh Chung is a pastor at the Toronto Korean Presbyterian Church. He has a BSc Hon from the University of Toronto and a PhD in philosophical theology/philosophy of religion He is the author of God at the Crossroads of Worldviews to be published by University of Notre Dame Press. He designed and taught an undergraduate course, Christianity and Science, which is part of the Christianity and Culture Program at St. Michael’s College.

Dean James Ginther is the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College and also teaches at the Toronto School of Theology. He earned a PhD at the University of Toronto in medieval studies with a thesis that focused on the work of the theologian, scientist and statesman Robert Grosseteste. He has taught at the University of Leeds and St. Louis University (SLU). He is a pioneer of digital theology having helped to create the Center for Digital Theology at SLU, where he was the Director, and the T-Pen (Transcription for Paleographical and Editorial Notation) project. The T-Pen tool allows the transcription of manuscripts right on the screen avoiding the moving back and forth from screen to paper.

Prof. Dennis Patrick O’Hara is an associate professor and the director of the Elliott Allen Institute for Theology & Ecology at the Faculty of Theology in the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto. He is also an associate member of the graduate faculty at the School for Environment at the University of Toronto. As a former chiropractor and naturopathic doctor, he has been a consultant for the World Health Organization and the Natural Health Products Directorate of Health Canada where he facilitated six international consultations.

Prof. Richard Peltier is a University Professor in the Physics Department of the University of Toronto. He is Director of the Centre for Global Change Science, the Principal Investigator of the Polar Climate Stability Network 
and the Scientific Director of SciNet. His research interests include atmospheric and oceanic waves and turbulence, geophysical fluid dynamics, the physics of the planetary interior and planetary climate. He is the author of 248 refereed publications.

Father Leo Reilly is a Basilian Priest who studied with Marshall McLuhan in the 1950s. He holds a St. Michael’s College Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science. He received a PhD from the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies. Fr. Reilly taught at Basilian high schools in Calgary, Edmonton and Sudbury and at the University of Windsor. He is the author of a Latin grammar book, “Summa Super Priscianum.” He was a parish priest for 25 years in St. Anne’s Parish in the Greater Detroit area. He is an editor and contributor of Stirrings, A Peace & Justice Newsletter.

Prof. Robert K. Logan is a Fellow of St. Michael’s College where teaches the McLuhan Seminar and What is Information? He teaches The Poetry of Physics and the Physics of Poetry in the U of T Physics Department. He is the Chief Scientist of the sLab at OCAD University.

Click on the image below to watch a 6 minute video about the main ideas of Laudato si:

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McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology Winter Program Week 1: Monday Night Seminar, JAN 25 & Book Salon, JAN 27, Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 01/18/2016 - 12:28pm

Winter/Spring 2016 program of events

Engaging Community (Inaugural season Monday night seminar) – Is there a global village? Monday, 25 January 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
With Rohinton Medhora, Bonnie Rubenstein, Nora Young ROHINTON P. MEDHORA is President of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), joining in 2012. He served on CIGI’s former International Board of Governors from 2009–2014. Previously, he was vice president of programs at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He has published extensively on these issues in professional and nontechnical journals, and has produced two books: Finance and Competitiveness in Developing Countries  (Routledge, 2001); and Financial Reform in Developing Countries (Macmillan, 1998), which he co-edited with José Fanelli.  BONNIE RUBENSTEIN has been a director at the CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto since 2002 and is responsible for its artistic programming. In 2003 she established the public installation program and since then has overseen well over 100 projects by both emerging and established artists from Canada and around the world. Each year she curates several high profile, large scale installations of photography in public spaces throughout the city. For many years Rubenstein has
also been actively engaged with the curation and organization of visual arts exhibitions at major museums and galleries for CONTACT and previously for Lisson Gallery, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.  NORA YOUNG is a journalist specializing in technology and culture. She is particularly interested in technology and philosophy, technology and the body, and the use and abuse of data. Her radio show/podcast/blog, Spark, airs across Canada on CBC Radio One. She also has an indie podcast called The Sniffer, about trends in technology, media and the arts, with her friend, Cathi Bond. She authored The Virtual Self: How Our Digital Lives Are Altering the World Around Us (2012). REGISTER NOW at ***** BOOK SALON

McLuhan in an Age of Social Media
Connected Editions, 2015

Wednesday, 27 January 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

With Paul Levinson, Ira Nayman, Hugh Spencer

This essay can be considered a new chapter in my book Digital McLuhan, published in 1999, or before the advent of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the social media of our age. Marshall McLuhan’s ideas, including hot and cool, the medium is the message, and the tetrad, are applied to help us understand selfies, tweeting, iconic television shows such as The Sorpanos and Mad Men, the Arab Spring, the U.S. Presidential election of 2016, and the Kindle revolution itself.

Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City.

McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology
39A Queens Park Crescent E. – Parking available off 121 St. Joseph St. Toronto [map]

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