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Media, Information and Technoculture 2000F/G Midterm: MIT 2000 Midterm Exam Notes

Media, Information and Technoculture
Course Code
MIT 2000F/G
Daniel Robinson
Study Guide

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Important Dates
Origins of Writing: Sumeria
-3200BCE, Mesopotamia
Printing Press (1450s)
-Johann Gutenberg (ca. 1400-1468)
- Gutenberg Bible (1455)
Postal Service (Mid-Late 1400s)
-France, 1464, Royal Post
- Most of Europe by 1700
- Corantos (current events) - weekly journals in Germany (1609)
- 1640-1660 English Civil War brings Newspaper
- Samuel Buckley, Daily Courant, 1702 - First Daily Paper (Britain)
- 1750 5 dailies; 5 weeklies (Britain)
- Halifax Gazette (1752)
- Upper Canada Gazette (1793)
- World - Joseph Pulitzer (1883) - commercialization of Newspaper
-Daguerreotype Method, 1839
- Wet plate collodion process, 1850s
- Dry plate collodion process, 1850s
- Kodak Camera, 1888
-Optical Telegraph founded by Claude Chappe (France, 1794) (wooden signal post)
- Telegraph - Morse and Vail (first message 1844)
- Pony Express (1861)
- Chicago Commodities Exchange (Arbitrage to Futures), 1848
- Telephone (Bell) (1876)
- Telefon Hirmondo 1893-1920 (Telephone Radio)
- Heinrich Hertz 1888 - Morse code through radio waves
- Trans-Atlantic Signal - Guglielmo Marconi (1901)
- Radiotelephone (first voice transmission) - Reginald Fessenden (1900)
- Shore to ship broadcast (1906)
- Radio Act of 1912 (US) - License to be an amateur user/use military lines
- One to One: DXing (1920-1924)
- Frank Conrad/KDKA (1920) - broadcasted records out of his apartment
- Network Radio: AT&T (1925) - broadcast simultaneously throughout the country
- Radio-Telegraph Act, 1913 - radio being officially regulated by gov. in Canada
- CNR Radio Dept. (mid-1920s)
- Aird Commission (Royal Commission on Broadcasting) (1928-29)
- Canadian Radio League - Aird, Spry(1930)
- Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (1932)
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (1936)
Important Themes/Topics
Spatial, Visual Memory
- Memory Palace (Simonides)
- Memory linked with space/geography

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- Facial recognition
- Make phrases easier to remember
- Rhyme, repetition, proverb (internal rhyming), alliteration
- Metaphors and similes (Homer)
Time-Biased Media (Innis)
- Carry stories that reach last generations, reach little people
- Orality, stone, clay
- Fostered community
- Control by those who can read or write
Space Biased Media (Innis)
- Carry stories that reach large audiences, for limited duration
- Papyrus, paper, printing press, TV
- Monopolies of knowledge
- Started with pictographic symbols (Sumerian)
- Time Biased Media on heavy materials
- Alphabetic Writing (1500BCE)
- Easier to learn to read and write
- Writing devalued memorization
- Expanded capacity of thinking
- Weakens power of the elites who were literate before
Literacy/Orality: Greek Ideal
- Innis thought Greek society was ideal
- Oral tradition, poetry, drama
- Alphabetic literacy - large amount of people were literate
- Break on knowledge monopolies
- The Literature Revolution in Greece and its Cultural Consequences
by Eric Havelock
- Alphabet democratized literacy
1. Removed monopolies on knowledge
2. Reduced memory
3. Promoted novel thought
4. Encouraged new ideas
- Took time to adopt/create, eventually became easy enough for children and the
general population to learn
- The use of the alphabet and language as an unknown allowed a different avenue to
which people could create new ways of thinking
Printing Press
- Eisenstein
1. Hearing Public (more communal, local embrace, literacy)
2. Reading Public (no face to face contact, public can be far away, secular)
- Innis (Space-Biased Media)
1. Dialectic (Destroyed monopoly of Catholic Church, fewer voices, new
monopoly of knowledge)
- The Rise of the Reading Public
by Elizabeth Eisenstein
- Replacement of discourse with silent scanning
- “sullen silence” - dark or gloomy readers, keep private to themselves
- Promoted secularization as more than just religious texts were available

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- McLuhan - media as an extension of the self, media shapes culture
Intensive to Extensive Reading
- Intensive - reading in solitude, reader is absorbed, engaged intensively with the text
- Extensive - skimming, browsing, sample more things, secular topics
Aboriginal Culture
- Interpreting Aboriginal Cultures
by Gerald Friesen
- Speech was dominant mode of communication
- Story telling was an important aspect of culture
- Use of natural changes to measure time
- Culture focused on environment in terms of time-space
- Introduction of print by missionaries, the Bible
Reformation (1517-1648)
- Martin Luther used printing press to spread the Protestant Church
- Printing press facilitated the reformation
- Vernacular Bible
- Path to Heaven = reading the Bible
- Catholic Church - Index of Prohibited Books
- England: Stationer’s Co. 1550s/1790s - censor anything that challenges the state
- Banned topics gain more interest
- Underground printing
Public Sphere - J. Habermas
- Realm of public life that is separate from the state, the church and family
- 1700s from coffee houses and the presence of newspaper
- Discussions based on newspapers
- Ideas to transform society
Newspapers as tools for Reform
- Joseph Howe - published Nova Scotian 1827, try to get more power for ordinary
- Opinionated Press (Etienne Parent, William Lyon Mackenzie)
- Use of newspaper to give people power against the gov.
Impact of Newspapers in Canada
- The Most Powerful Engine of the Human Mind
by Jeffrey McNairn
- Colonial newspapers (1820s), largest and most important voluntary association in
Upper Canada
- Diffused knowledge, sparked reader’s curiosity about topics they might not have had
access to before
- Reduced apathy - help people learn about the world
- Brought attention to positive things
- Political engagement
- Main focus of early papers was polite conversation
- Newspapers created public opinion, encouraged political discussion
- Newspaper presents a further reach, universal applicability and influence from
words rather than identity
- Newspaper Agents: newspaper salesmen
Postal Service
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