Last year, Thom Gencarelli received NYSCA's John F. Wilson Fellow Award, based on his record of scholarship and service. Other scholars previously named as John F. Wilson Fellows include Neil Postman, Gary Gumpert, Dan Hahn, Deborah Borisoff, Susan Drucker, James W. Carey, Lance Strate, Susan B. Barnes, and Brian Cogan. In conjunction with his selection, he delivered this year's John F. Wilson Fellow Lecture on October 13th, at the 75th anniversary meeting of the New York State Communication Association:
"Dark Nets and Disruptive Practices"
All too often, people outside the academic discipline of communication and media studies consider what we do to be little more than a special interest, rather than the study of something that is central to, and one of the primary defining features of, the human experience. As a case in point, the Presidential election of 2016, the most disruptive event of all disruptive events in our contemporary experience in the U.S., can be explained from a media perspective, and an historical one at that. Beginning from Gutenberg’s invention of the mechanical, movable-type printing press and through our contemporary innovations in mobility, social media, and Tor, this presentation argues that all inventions and innovations in media are a disruption, and that the evolution of media by which the citizenry in a democratic society inform themselves can explain, in full, exactly what happened to us in 2016.
On November 3rd, Professor Gencarelli reprised his Wilson Lecture as the main event of our NYSGS program, and following the lecture, as an added bonus, additional reflections, comments, and responses were delivered by MJ Robinson, Professor of New Media and Journalism and Media Studies, Bernard N. Stern Professor of Humor, and Graduate Deputy Chair for the Media Studies MS program in the Department of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York; Michael Plugh, Professor of Communication at Manhattan College, Immediate Past President of the New York State Communication Association, and Internet Officer and Executive Board member of the Media Ecology Association; and Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, Past President of the New York State Communication Association, Editor of Explorations in Media Ecologyand Executive Board member of the Media Ecology Association, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics, and President of the New York Society for General Semantics.
Thom Gencarelli, Ph.D. (NYU, 1993) is Professor and the founding Chair of the Communication Department at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. He is a Past President of the New York State Communication Association, the Media Ecology Association, and New Jersey Communication Association (twice), and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics. He researches and writes about media literacy/media education, media ecology, and popular media and culture with an emphasis on popular music. He is co-editor (with Brian Cogan) of Baby Boomers and Popular Culture: An Inquiry into America’s Most Powerful Generation (ABC-Clio/ Praeger, 2014), and is currently at work on a book about language acquisition and cognitive development. Thom is also a songwriter, musician, and music producer, and has released two album-length works with his ensemble bluerace, World is Ready and Beautiful Sky. The group’s third, as yet untitled effort is due out in 2018.
It was a program that most certainly shed light on our contemporary semantic environment!