Mstu4016 f06 main
Main page for Fall 2006 MSTU 4016
Office Hours: By Appointment Only – Please call my Assistant, Teresa Gonzalez, at 212-854-1692.
In this course, we grapple with fundamental questions about the habits and technologies of human communication throughout history: How did the dawn of written language open up new ways of relating self to society -- and close off others? Is the basic lens through which a society sees what's real, and imagines what's possible, transformed by "revolutionary" communications technologies like the printing press, the broadcast media, and now the Internet? How can we begin to imagine the real, lived experience of an earlier age once we're across a great technological divide?
This course is conceived in conjunction with the spring course, Theory of Communications. During the fall semester we focus on the history of human communication, exploring the changed sense of the world that has accompanied new media technologies. In the spring semester, we read some of the great 20th-century thinkers who sought to understand that history on theoretical, social scientific, and moral terms. And we ask still more questions: What has humankind gained and lost with the increasing sophistication of its communications media and technology? How has the diffusion of these technologies influenced power structures in human society, our sociality, our ways of knowing, the dimensions of our experience? To what destiny is this historical trajectory leading us, and can we affect its course? (Disclaimer: Satisfactory answers not guaranteed.)