Our first event of Fall 2017, held on September 8th, featured a book launch for Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition (New York: Peter Lang, 2017) by Lance Strate, published on July 4th. Dr. Strate is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, a Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics, and the President of the New York Society for General Semantics.
Thom Gencarelli, Professor of Communication at Manhattan College and a Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics hosted the event, which included a conversation, discussion, reading, book signing, and reception.
From the publisher's blurb:
Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition provides a long-awaited and much anticipated introduction to media ecology, a field of inquiry defined as the study of media as environments. Lance Strate presents a clear and concise explanation of an intellectual tradition concerned with understanding the conditions that shape us as human beings, drive human history, and determine the prospects for our survival as a species.
This book represents a new synthesis that moves the field forward. Taking as its subject matter "life, the universe, and everything," Strate describes the field as interdisciplinary and communication-centered, provides a detailed explication of McLuhan's famous aphorism, "the medium is the message," and explains that the human condition can only be understood in the context of our biophysical, technological, and symbolic environments.
Strate provides an in-depth examination of media ecology's four key terms: medium, bias, effects, and environment. A chapter on tools serves as a guide to further media ecological research and scholarship
Advance Praise for Media Ecology:
“With characteristic passion and soulfulness, Lance Strate embarks on a metatask: to synthesize thinking about ‘life, the universe and everything’ through the lens of media ecology. In the process, he locates media ecology as the dynamic shift between figure and ground and as the basis for ‘understanding the human condition.’ Writing with an almost disarming ease that belies the complexity of the ideas he communicates, Strate brilliantly and reflexively mediates media ecology itself, bringing clarity to the Kekulé-like conundrums of an immense and increasingly relevant field. Anyone who thoughtfully enters and engages the environment of Strate’s book will be rewarded with moments of profound clarity, connecting ideas typically viewed as disparate or oppositional into patterns of deep understanding about media ecology―and about the process of living.”―Julianne H. Newton, Professor of Visual Communication, University of Oregon
“Lance Strate’s synthetic thinking opens up media ecology, allowing the reader to see how, as a field of inquiry, it applies to everything from language, media, and philosophy to our very understanding of what it means to be human living in a dynamic environment.”―Paul Soukup, Professor and Chair, Department of Communication, Santa Clara University
“Lance Strate asks big questions―and provides a myriad of perceptive answers. This book is at once playful, poetic, and precise. The clear writing about complex ideas is a pleasure to read and offers many gifts of understanding.”―Joshua Meyrowitz, University of New Hampshire
It was a gathering and celebration that was most certainly stimulating and thought-provoking!