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Some Perspective on the Perspective of Communication and Media Revolutions

  • 25 May 2023
  • 8:00 PM
  • Zoom


Registration is closed

The fourth installment in our 2023 lecture series will feature IGS Trustee Thom Gencarelli. Please join us on Thursday, May 25th at 8:00 PM EDT for 

Some Perspectives on the Perspective of

Communication and Media Revolutions

It is generally accepted that the history of human communication and media is comprised of four inventions/innovations that changed the trajectory of human civilization. and what it means to be and to live as a human being: speech or oral language, systems of writing, the mechanical, movable-type printing press, and electric/electronic communication. Terence Moran added to this the idea of a graphic and visual communication revolution that overlaps with the electric and electronic, which makes some sense to the extent that we now live in a post-literate, image-based culture that has arisen from the consequence of photography and mechanical film technology.

Atop this history, however, there is a little agreement and much gnashing of teeth about (a) what is going on now and (b) what revolution/s may have occurred or is/are occurring since Morse’s telegraph brought about an instantaneous means of communication that transcended the previous boundaries of our space and time.

Bob Logan posited a “sixth language” in his book of that name (2001), jumping over the question of a fifth revolution, or conflating a fifth and sixth. This talk argues–or, better, wonders–whether we are beyond a fifth, sixth, and even a seventh revolution: whether we are living in, to borrow Elizabeth Eisenstein’s term, the incunabula of a revolution, or overlapping revolutions we do not yet understand and that are nowhere near their endgame. It then goes on to consider what these revolutions might be, and what consequences they might portend.

Thom Gencarelli, Ph.D. (NYU, 1993) is Professor and founding Chair of the Communication Department at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. He is Treasurer and member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics, and the Editor of the IGS’ official journal ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He also is a Past President of the Media Ecology Association, the New York State Communication Association, the New Jersey Communication Association (twice).  Thom researches and writes about media ecology, media education/media literacy, new media, and popular media and culture with an emphasis on popular music. He is co-editor (with Brian Cogan) of the anthology Baby Boomers and Popular Culture: An Inquiry into America’s Most Powerful Generation (ABC-Clio/Praeger, 2014) and is currently at work on his own book entitled Searching for the Right Notes: Essays on Media, Music, and Meaning, due out from Peter Lang in 2024.

Thom is the recipient of multiple awards including the Eastern Communication Association’s Distinguished Teaching Fellows Award and the Media Ecology Association’s Louis Forsdale Award for Outstanding Educator in the Field of Media Ecology in 2019, the John F. Wilson Fellowship Award for Scholarship and Service from the New York State Communication Association in 2016, and the Media Ecology Association’s Christine L. Nystrom Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Service to the Field of Media Ecology in 2013. He is also a songwriter, musician, and producer and has released three album-length works with his ensemble bluerace, World is Ready (2009), Beautiful Sky (2013), and Mistral (2019), all on Big Radio Records. The group is currently at work on their as-yet untitled fourth record, which is due out in 2024.

The lecture will be held via Zoom. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registrants will receive the Zoom link in advance of the lecture.

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