To begin our thinking about media in this class we read Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” (1964) and Alan Liu’s “Imagining the New Media Encounter” (2012), two essays separated by nearly 50 years. What central ideas do McLuhan and Liu share about media, and how does their thinking diverge? After you outline a few points of intersection and rupture between the two, turn your attention to a new medium of your choice from our own historical moment. Choose one idea from either essay that can help you “read” that medium and/or its messages for us.
Discussion of McLuhan and Liu
Prompt from Liu (if needed)
Pick one pair of terms from the end of Alan Liu’s “Imagining the New Media Encounter” and describe the “contact zone” between them. How are the two activities similar—what qualities do they share? How are they different?
“We need today a poiesis of digital literary studies able to imagine how old and new literary media together allow us to imagine. In such a poetics, everything old and new is up for grabs again as we negotiate the contact zone between such paired terms as the following: