Media Releases

McLuhan100 presents the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology Monday night seminar on “The Edge of Academe” at Net Change Week

June 3, 2011

TORONTO, ON — Well-known media the­o­rist and Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Pro­fes­sor, Mar­shall McLuhan, taught in the much cel­e­brat­ed Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Coach House on the bound­ary of the University—physically, intel­lec­tu­al­ly, and orga­ni­za­tion­al­ly.

Dur­ing this cen­te­nary of his birth, soci­ety might ask how can we renew the space on the edge—and explore the bound­aries where mono­liths frac­ture and fusion occurs. How can we increase the exchange between pub­lic and pri­vate spaces? How can we inten­si­fy the points of con­tact among dig­i­tal­ly-assem­bled learn­ing com­mu­ni­ties?

In his hon­our, the Coach House Insti­tute of the Fac­ul­ty of Infor­ma­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is relaunch­ing its McLuhan Pro­gram in Cul­ture and Tech­nol­o­gy Mon­day night sem­i­nar series on “The Edge of Acad­eme,” with sem­i­nars to begin on Sep­tem­ber 12, 2011.

Dominique Schef­fel-Dunand, Direc­tor, McLuhan Pro­gram in Cul­ture & Tech­nol­o­gy, report­ed that these sem­i­nars “invite media and the pub­lic, in true McLuhanesque fash­ion, to look reflec­tive­ly so as to pen­e­trate the cracks of change, and with pre­science to shape the future.”



As McLuhan fore­saw, the expand­ing ubiq­ui­ty of dig­i­tal media is reshap­ing the very fab­ric of soci­ety.

What mat­ters are not the (so-often fetishized) tech­nolo­gies, dig­i­tal and social media, pat­terns of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and effects of infor­ma­tion on soci­ety. What mat­ters are the ways we respond. How will we fash­ion dis­course, com­mu­ni­ty, cul­ture, author­i­ty & exper­tise? What will be the car­togra­phies of learn­ing, respon­si­bil­i­ty, and com­pas­sion in this dig­i­tal­ly medi­at­ed land­scape? What will hap­pen to learn­ing, to inquiry, to crit­i­cal intel­lec­tu­al debate? Will it con­tin­ue to be sub­served by the uni­ver­si­ty?

As his­to­ri­ans rec­og­nize, the uni­ver­si­ty is a con­ser­v­a­tive insti­tu­tion, prod­uct of a mate­r­i­al his­to­ry that is rapid­ly erod­ing beneath its feet. To focus on the “Future of the Uni­ver­si­ty” is to assume that the insti­tu­tion will sur­vive, and to con­ceive the task as one of reshap­ing and recon­fig­ur­ing it, pre­serv­ing its his­tor­i­cal lega­cy, and striv­ing to effect change from with­in.

McLuhan would have been more rad­i­cal. In his spir­it, let’s set aside a pri­ori com­mit­ment to insti­tu­tion­al form, and imag­ine where intel­lec­tu­als, (re)searchers, artists, prac­ti­tion­ers and cul­tur­al activists can con­vene to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties of inquiry, inves­ti­ga­tion, and debate. What would it be to rec­og­nize the far-flung forms of intense intel­lec­tu­al dialogues—from edgy sem­i­nars to off-beat jour­nals to intense con­ver­sa­tions in cof­fee-hous­es and parks? How can we exploit our famil­iar­i­ty with dig­i­tal media and har­ness the tech­nolo­gies of change to unleash a vibrant future for pro­found, dis­con­tin­u­ous, soul-redefin­ing encoun­ters?

Event Details


What: McLuhan100 Presents: The Edge of Acad­eme at Net Change Week

Time: 5:30–7:30 pm

Where: Audi­to­ri­um, MaRS Build­ing, 101 Col­lege St., Toron­to

Speak­ers: Michael Eber­le-Sina­tra, Pro­fes­sor in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture, U. de Mon­tréal, Cana­da;  Pep­pino Ortol­e­va, Pro­fes­sor in Media and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, U. of Turi­no, Italy; Bri­an Cantwell Smith, Pro­fes­sor of Infor­ma­tion, Phi­los­o­phy, Com­put­er Sci­ence, U of Toron­to (UofT), Cana­da; and Mark Sur­man, CEO, Mozil­la Foun­da­tion, Cana­da and USA

Mod­er­a­tor: Dominique Schef­fel-Dunand, Direc­tor, McLuhan Pro­gram in Cul­ture & Tech­nol­o­gy, Fac­ul­ty of Infor­ma­tion, UofT & Pro­fes­sor in Lin­guis­tics, York Uni­ver­si­ty, Cana­da

Social Media: Face­book Fol­low us on Twit­ter @McLuhan100


About McLuhan100

2011 marks the cen­te­nary of Mar­shall McLuhan’s birth. To hon­our the man, to explore his ideas, and to stand wit­ness to the fact that, even 50 years after their pub­li­ca­tion, McLuhan’s insights remain rad­i­cal and trans­for­ma­tive. With Toron­to the focus of inter­na­tion­al gaze, Toronto’s McLuhan Pro­gram in Cul­ture & Tech­nol­o­gy (in the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Fac­ul­ty of Infor­ma­tion) has joined forces with The City of Toronto’s Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment and Cul­ture Divi­sion and Mozil­la under the ban­ner of McLuhan100, to cel­e­brate McLuhan McLuhan100 has been finan­cial­ly assist­ed by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Ryer­son Uni­ver­si­ty, the Ontario Cul­tur­al Attrac­tions Fund, a pro­gram of the Gov­ern­ment of Ontario through the Min­istry of Tourism and Cul­ture, admin­is­tered by the Ontario Cul­tur­al Attrac­tions Fund Cor­po­ra­tion, the City of Toron­to Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment and Cul­ture Divi­sion, and Mozil­la Foun­da­tion. Details of oth­er McLuhan100 events for 2011 can be found at





For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Dominique Schef­fel-Dunand
Direc­tor, McLuhan Pro­gram in Cul­ture and Tech­nol­o­gy
Coach House Insti­tute,
Fac­ul­ty of Infor­ma­tion, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to


Lilie Zen­del, City of Toron­to