Seattle Arts & Lectures Series: You Say You Want A Revolution?

By David Domke  (originally posted February 22, 2011 on the UW Department of Communication Blog)

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The Beatles sang it in 1968, in the midst of cultural tumoil around the world tied to human rights and equality. Now I’ll be talking about it Wednesday evening as part of the Seattle Arts & Lectures series, “Storyteller Uprising,” which features faculty in the Department of Communication, in particular in the Master in Digital Media program.

My focus will be on the generational revolution that is occurring in the United States, and is now also taking hold in other locales around the globe. We’re in the midst of a paradigm shift in what it means to be a civically engaged citizen, and technologies such as laptop computers, smartphones, and ipads are part of this shift. I wouldn’t say these technologies are driving the change, but they certainly are serving as catalyzing agents.

As a teaser, here’s a quote from Marshall McLuhan with which I’ll open my talk Wednesday evening:

For the past 3500 years of the Western world, the effects of media — whether it’s speech, writing, printing, photography, radio or television — have been systematically overlooked by social observers. … [M]ost people are still blissfully ignorant of what the media do to them; unaware that the medium is also the message — that, all puns aside, it literally works over and saturates and molds and transforms every sense ratio. The content or message of any particular medium has about as much importance as the stenciling on the casing of an atomic bomb.

I’m not usually a person who argues that a specific technology is all that crucial, but I’ve been moving that intellectual direction for the past few years. Wednesday evening I’ll make the case for how new technologies are helping to democratize the world, starting with the United States but perhaps having greater long-term impact outside our borders.

Here’s info on the lecture.

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