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Lecture 1: Pre-history and History of Media

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Communication Studies
COMM 1101
Chris Russill

Lecture 1: The Pre-history and History of Media What is a Medium?  Method of sending ideas/information through technology to another person  A form in which a message is conveyed  Means of sending significant symbols  Anything that gets in between our life, life goals, etc.  Spiritualist tradition – psychics  The way you grow something (germs), surrounding environment (“Contagion”)  Communication – (archaic) to commune, share, unite, make common; tightly bound to transportation (objects) in 17-18 century and later  “Excommunication” – ex-common Media Technologies  Technologies: printing press/paper/writing/books, phone, radio, TV/broadcasting, Internet/computers, film, magazines, photography, spoken word, clay tablets/rocks, art/painting, telegraph, bulletin boards/file cabinets, fax, music, clocks/calendars, Brail, ASL, maps, coins/money/stamps, radar, satellites o Mass media (19c) - radio, film, television o Computers (40s-50s) o Recent – digital technology  Institutions (CBC, etc.)  Cultural forms (reality TV, epic poetry, advertising) 1. The Bias of Evidence  Early cave paintings, stone tablets are visible evidence, but we don’t have things like the first word ever uttered  There are things we just don’t know about; our history is skewed by this bias  Early man (hominid) – started walking, bipedal, hands to use tools; brain began to grow in capacity and tool use and understanding brain led to cognitive innovations we still explore today – Why did they stand up and walk? 2. The Growing Importance of Communication and Culture to Hominid/Human Life  Biology no longer important to kinds of things we become today  More important later on in time – less important millions of years ago  Internal influence of what we can become, body shapes, societies we live in; not evolving biological as a species very fast, but socially and culturally we’re changing at an incredible rate, i.e. women can become anything today as opposed to in the past  Convey information non-verbally through our body; all cultures do that, animals as well  You can’t not communicate – we communicate in all ways; the way we dress, look, etc.  We’re the only species that
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