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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Print The answers to a few questions on the film "The Day The Universe Changed" as well as a review on what was talked about in previous lectures and this one. October 6th, 2010.

Computer Science
Course Code
Alexandra Boutros

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October 6th, 2010
Speech is often understood as an innate human ability
First system for representing information
Literacy conceptualized as first communication technology
Writing involved the adaptation of natural materials, the creation of communication media
(papyrus, clay are both medias)
Writing requires special tools and special skills (the creation of a special class/specialists)
Greek alphabet (from which our alphabet is descendent) appears around 730 BCE
Greek alphabet said to have democratized writing (Havelock 38); writing no longer confined
to a group of specialists
Scholars (Havelock, Ong) make a distinction between the type of cultures and social
organizations possible with literacy/orality
Text before Print
Literacy remained limited in scope before the creation of the printing press (Havelock 41)
Literacy did not lead automatically to a literate populous (texts had limited availability)
Between writing and print... storage and retrieval
Storage and Retrieval
Systems for ordering knowledge
Modern printing press invented ~1441 by Johannes Glutenberg (Germany)
“Print was the major cultural/technological transformation in the history of the west” (64)
“Print broke the class monopoly of the written word” (Mumford 77)
WE can’t assume that the introduction of print alone changed the world (Eisenstien)
“Why should old men be preferred to their juniors now that it is possible for the young, by diligent
study, to acquire the same knowledge?”
Viewing questions of “The day the Universe Changed”
- The film suggests that the advent of print led to the loss of both a particular communication
practice and a human faculty that was highly developed before the advent of print. What
was the loss?
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