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?
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 http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-ON/McLuhan-Program-in-Culture-and-Technology-UofT/136948513030620 Follow us on Twitter @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 http://www.mcluhan100.ca/.
For more information, please contact:
Director, McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology
Coach House Institute,
Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Lilie Zendel, City of Toronto