COM257: Media History and Theory

DepartmentDepartment of Communication
Institution: NC State University
TermsFall 11, Spring 09 [section1] [section2], Fall 08

This course explores new media as agents of change in cultural, social, and spatial infrastructures. By remembering that every media was once new and that we need new theories to conceptualize new media, students will investigate how the emergence of new interfaces change communication relationships, information dissemination, reading practices, and consequently the way we think about the world and ourselves. Having in mind that each media reflects old media, but also brings up the new, one must learn how to critically think about each new medium by taking into consideration its specific characteristics.

In the first part of the course, we will study some main concepts necessary to understand new media, such as mobility, space, interface, and information. A global understanding of these concepts will help us to theorize new media in the contemporary society. The second part of the course is dedicated to exploring old forms of media as new media, such as the printing press, 19th-century technologies, and mass media. We will look at how every media causes and reflects social, spatial, and cultural shifts. Lastly, we will address current and emerging forms of new media, such as the web, electronic texts, gaming, and mobile technologies.