Media Theory, Education and the University

A paper I’ve been working on with Darryl Cressman that focuses on Kittler’s media theory and education. One element that this paper traces over a number of mediatic developments (revolutions?) is the role of pictorial elements (above) in conceptualizing and articulating education and curriculum. Here’s the abstract:

As the means through which specialized and general knowledge and practice is reproduced in a society, education, and the university, are indelibly shaped by media. With this in mind, the purpose of this paper is to re-think Kittler’s (2004) history of the university as a media system by emphasizing how media shape pedagogy. Kittler points to a variety of moments within the history of the university: Its initial formation alongside manuscript culture; the advent of the printing press; university reform corresponding with liberalism and nationalism in the 17th & 18th centuries; and the era of psychometric study stretching from 1900 to the present. Referring to a variety of media theorists, and tracing the development of forms of curricular organization and representation, our paper develops a more detailed historical account of the function and characteristics of education in each of these academic media systems. In our conclusion, we provide a brief review Kittler’s controversial diagnosis and prognosis of the contemporary university, in the light of our own historical overview of pedagogical methods.

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