This course will introduce an interdisciplinary approach to working with the key concepts and methods for the study of media, communication, information, and symbolic meaning systems:
- media and communication theory and the study of the digital media environment
- linguistics, semiotics, and meaning systems
- cognitive science approaches to meaning and communication: symbolic cognition and role of “cognitive technologies” in extending, externalizing and “off-loading” core human capabilities for making meaning and communicating in symbol systems
- mediology and actor-network theory as approaches to technical mediation
- computation, software, and re-mediation through digital media representations and transformations
We will use the seminar as a laboratory to interpret important knowledge-building in progress from several intersecting disciplines and sciences. An emerging research paradigm now allows us to view our inherited and technologically renewed media and sign systems as complex networks of co-agency in representing, interpreting, transforming, storing, and transmitting expressions and cultural meanings over long and short time spans and across geographic spaces.
The guiding question of the course: how can we use our interdisciplinary resources to develop a media and communication theory for all the forms of media, software-produced media artefacts, and computational environments that we experience today?
The course has a methodological emphasis in allowing students to gain competencies in building and applyinginterdisciplinary models for investigating complex systems of media, technical and social mediation, and the meaning of symbolic artefacts in any technical form of representation (from writing and images to digital multimedia).
Central topics for study will include the continuum of human symbolic systems and technical mediation, the implications of the converging pan-digital platform for all media, the analog-digital continuum, the question of “big data” and the collective memory of computational networks, and the ongoing renewal of media content through new technologies of digitization.