• 14 Feb 2019 6:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Recordings from the 66th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture, and the Language and Meaning in the 21st Century Symposium that followed, are available for viewing on the Institute of General Semantics YouTube channel.

    The AKML and symposium, co-sponsored by the New York Society for General Semantics, were held at the Princeton Club in New York City, and featured many NYSGS regulars, as well as a great many out-of-towners, not to mention participants from all around the world.

    When this year's regularly scheduled Korzybski Lecturer was forced to withdraw for personal reasons, NYSGS President Lance Strate was asked to deliver the 66th AKML instead. The title of his lecture was, "Amazing Ourselves to Death: Contemplating the Technological Tempest of Our Times". That same evening, October 26th, 2018, NYSGS Board Member Ben Hauck was presented with the J. Talbot Winchell Award. NYSGS Treasurer Martin Levinson and Board Member Thom Gencarelli were among the presenters during the GS symposium that took place on October 27th-28th, 2018.

    It was, without a doubt, an intellectually rich and diverse weekend!

  • 18 Oct 2018 1:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    American politics over the past several years has proven to be highly eventful and highly controversial, rendering the upcoming midterm elections highly consequential. The role of language and the use and misuse of symbols in politics, along with their relation to facts and political realities, have long been a concern for general semantics. Having organized several lively and engaging programs on this topic during and after the 2016 US Presidential election, we were pleased to begin our Fall 2018 programming on October 3rd with a panel discussion that explored current American political discourse with little more than a month to go before the midterm elections that will decide the composition of the US Congress in the coming year.

     The participants on this program were:

    Arshia Anwer is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Manhattan College, with research interests in the areas of integrated marketing communication, philosophy of communication, religious communication, and intercultural communication.  She holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and an M.A in Integrated Marketing Communication from Duquesne University, and an M.A. in Psychology from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India.  She has worked in the communication and education fields in a variety of marketing communication, editing, and teaching roles.

    Thom Gencarelli, Professor and Chair of the Communication Department at Manhattan College, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics, and the Board of Directors of the NYSGS, and the new editor of ETC: A Review of General Semantics.

    Arthur S. Hayes, an Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, is the author of Press Critics are the Fifth Estate: Media Watchdogs in America; Sympathy for the Cyberbully: How the Crusade to Censor Hostile and Offensive Online Speech Abuses Freedom of Expression; and the editor of Communication in the Age of Trump.

    The program was moderated by Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics, and President of the New York Society for General Semantics, as well as author of several books including the award-winning Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition; and Amazing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman's Brave New World Revisited.

    It was a compelling and captivating discussion!

  • 22 Sep 2018 3:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On May 14th, the world lost one of its most celebrated, talented, and accomplished authors, Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr., best known simply as Tom Wolfe. Wolfe earned his PhD in American Studies from Yale University in 1957, and worked as a newspaper reporter for a decade, writing for periodicals such as the Washington Post and the New York Herald-Tribune, as well as New York magazine and Esquire

    Wolfe pioneered the use of a personal, literary style in news reporting and feature writing that became known as the New Journalism. A best selling author, his nonfiction works include The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965); The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968); The Pump House Gang (1968); Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (1970); and His Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine (1976). His examination and critique of the contemporary American art scene, The Painted Word (1975), proved to be extremely controversial. His history of the early space program The Right Stuff (1979), was adapted as a feature film by Phillip Kaufman in 1983. 

    His book, In Our Time (1980), featured his own artwork, while From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), as a follow-up to The Painted Word, took on the topic of American architecture. Wolfe turned novelist with the publication of The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), which was followed by A Man in Full (1998), I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004), and Back to Blood (2012). Hooking Up (2001) collected several works of his short fiction coupled with several of his essays. 

    Tom Wolfe was an early promoter of media ecology scholar Marshall McLuhan, famously posing the question, "What if he's right?" in a 1965 essay published in New York magazine, and comparing McLuhan to the likes of Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov. Wolfe's last book, The Kingdom of Speech (2016), a critique of Noam Chomsky's approach to linguistics, was awarded the Institute of General Semantics's S. I. Hayakawa Book Prize at last year's annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture, which was co-sponsored by the NYSGS. 

    Wolfe is credited with coining a number of terms, including the right stuff, radical chic, the Me Decade, good ol' boy, and statusphere. As an author and journalist, he was truly a man of letters, to invoke an old fashioned phrase that fits well with the famous man in a white suit, as he was known. And as a student and scholar of language, art, media, and communication, as well as a writer, interviewer, and raconteur, he most certainly was also a man of words

    On June 27th, 2018, the New York Society for General Semantics honored his contributions, creative and intellectual, and celebrated his achievements with a special panel discussion on select aspects of his career and publications. 

    The participants on this program were: 

    Thom Gencarelli, Professor and Chair of the Communication Department at Manhattan College, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics, and the Board of Directors of the NYSGS, and the new editor of ETC: A Review of General Semantics.

    Martin Levinson, author of several books on general semantics including a forthcoming new edition of Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living, President of the Institute of General Semantics and Treasurer of the New York Society for General Semantics. 

    Lance Strate, author of several books including the award-winning Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics, and President of the New York Society for General Semantics. 

    The program was moderated by Jacqueline Rudig, Treasurer of the Institute of General Semantics, and member of the Board of Directors of the New York Society for General Semantics. 

    It was a thoughtful and belletristic discussion!

  • 14 Aug 2018 7:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    General semantics is concerned with the ways in which language and symbols function as representations of our outer environment and our innermost feelings and thoughts. These representations function as maps of our external and internal realities. They help us to understand what we perceive and experience, they guide us in evaluating and navigating our world, and they give us tools for thought and action.

    Different representations or maps may be more or less accurate or more or less useful in helping us to achieve certain ends. But different representations or maps may also help us to learn about different aspects of our reality, providing us with different perspectives, and abstracting out of external events different parts of the greater whole. What scientific modes of representation tell us about the world, for example, is quite different from what literary modes reveal, but each one provides us with knowledge that the other cannot.

    The theatre is one of our oldest forms of literary expression, one that has an extraordinary influence on our use of language and symbol, from the Attic playwrights of ancient Greece and the introduction of the proscenium arch, and the unparalleled creative production of William Shakespeare in Elizabethan England, to the avant-garde experimentation of Bertolt Brecht in 20th century Germany, and Lin-Manuel Miranda's combination of hip hop and history in the Broadway hit Hamilton.

    It follows that it is worth considering questions such as, what is unique to theatre as a mode of representation? What are its advantages and limitations, its problems and potentials? What are the relationships between dramatic performance and language and symbol, spoken and written word, play and script? Importantly, what role can theatre play in helping us to understand our world, in education, in social and political commentary? 

    Given that programs for the New York Society for General Semantics are held in the historic Players Club, founded by Edwin Booth, the greatest dramatic actor of the 19th century, as a social club "for the promotion of social intercourse between the representative members of the dramatic profession and the kindred professions of literature, painting, sculpture and music, and the patrons of the arts," a panel discussion on theatre was especially appropriate. 

     The participants on this program were:

    Robin Beth Levenson, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, and author of  Acting Chekhov in Translation: 4 Plays, 100 Ways (Peter Lang) Publishers, Inc., published in 2018. A graduate of the Media Ecology Doctoral Program at New York University, with an MFA from the University of California at Riverside, her articles have been published in journals such as Dialogues in Social Justice and Communications from the International Brecht Society.  Her research explorations include how language influences thought and behavior, and the nature of performance.

    Emily Lyon, a Brooklyn-based theatre director and dramaturg who recently created a theatrical piece, How We Hear, inspired by Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death. Her other directing work includes The Summoning (Best Direction, Best Production: sheNYC), Sword & the Stone/The Tempest tour (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), The Secret in the Wings (Hedgepig Ensemble), Women of Williams County (Best Ensemble: Manhattan International Theatre Festival), Interior: Panic (FringeNYC), Max Frisch’s The Arsonists (DCTV Firehouse), Some of the Side Effects (Best Premiere: UnitedSolo), and As You Like It (Geva Theatre Directing Fellow). 

    S. Brian Jones, Director of Operations for The Players, recently completed his masters in the Masters of Applied Theater program at CUNY School of Professional Studies. He has served as a Teacher in Residence and Arts Administrator with schools, regional theatre companies and social service agencies, conducted credential training workshops for teachers with Delaware Institute for Arts in Education, served as an advocate for Arts Education within the educational and government systems, and worked at Foundation Theatre, Freedom Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Christina Cultural Arts Center, New Castle County Parks and Recreation, La Jolla Playhouse, Horton Grand Theater, Ensemble Arts Theatre, Creative Management Group, Dorwell Productions, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, the 1199 Child Care Corporation, The Artist Playground Theater and Inside Broadway.  Most recently, he worked as the Education Programs Manager for the award winning Off-Broadway Company, Epic Theatre Ensemble.  

    M*** S******* is a New York based actor, director and writer.  As a performer, he has appeared on Broadway in the 39 Steps and off Broadway in Small World at 59east59, Checkers at the Vineyard Theatre, Tryst at the Irish Repertory Theatre, As Bees In Honey Drown at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.  His directorial work has been seen at The Alley Theatre, the Fulton Opera House, Virginia Stage, the Westport Country Playhouse, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, George Street Playhouse and many others.  His play, The Dingdong: or How The French Kiss, an adaptation of Feydau’s Le Dindon, premiered Off Broadway and has played around the country.  His adaptation of A Christmas Carol, which he will also direct, premieres this December at Florida Repertory Theatre. Mark is a graduate of Brown University and received his MA in Communication and Media Studies from Fordham University, where he teaches film courses. *Name withheld by request.

    The discussion was moderated by Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, President of the New York Society for General Semantics, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics.

    It was a lively and dramatic discussion! 

  • 10 Jul 2018 9:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Alfred Korzybski, founder of general semantics, wrote that, "poetry often conveys in a few sentences more of lasting values than a whole volume of scientific analysis" (Science and Sanity, p. 437). He understood that poetic language provides us with a set of tools for understanding, evaluating, and relating to our environment in ways  that are different from and complementary to scientific language. Not surprisingly, then, since the start of its publication 75 years ago, the general semantics journal ETC has often featured poetry along with articles on language, perception, communication, and consciousness of abstracting. 

    On September 28, 2016, the New York Society for General Semantics held its first Language of Poetry session, and we were happy to host our second such program on April 4th, 2018. The program was moderated by Teresa Manzella, a member of the Board of Directors of the NYSGS.


    The original readings were prefaced by an Introduction by NYSGS President Lance Strate:

    The introduction was followed by a performance by Martin H. Levinson, a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics.  He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems. His latest work, a book of poems titled Signal Reactions , is due to be published later this year. He is the president of the Institute of General Semantics and Treasurer of the New York Society for General Semantics.

    The performances continued with a reading by Patricia Carragon, an active member of the online poetry group brevitas, the PEN Women’s Literary Workshop, Women Writers in Bloom, and the creative writing workshop Tamarind, and an executive editor for Home Planet News Online. Her latest books are The Cupcake Chronicles (Poets Wear Prada, 2017) and Innocence (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Patricia hosts the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology.

    Next was Lance Strate, President of the New York Society for General Semantics, a Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics, editor of Explorations in Media Ecology, a founder and past president of the Media Ecology Association, and Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. His book of poetry, Thunder at Darwin Station, was published by NeoPoiesis Press, as was the anthology of poetry and creative work he co-edited with Adeena Karasick, The Medium is the Muse: Channeling Marshall McLuhan. He is the co-editor of several scholarly anthologies, including Korzybski And..., and Taking Up McLuhan's Cause: Perspectives on Media and Formal Causality, and the author of Echoes and Reflections: On Media Ecology as a Field of Study; On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essay on General Semantics and Media Ecology; Amazing Ourselves to Death: Neil Postman's Brave New World Revisited; and Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition.

    And the evening was capped of by performance poet Adeena Karasicka New York based Canadian poet, performer, cultural theorist and media artist and the author of eight books of poetry and poetics. Her Kabbalistically inflected, urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), noted for their “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) "a twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick's signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin); “one long dithyramb of desire, a seven-veiled dance of seduction that celebrates the tangles, convolutions, and ecstacies of unbridled sexuality… demonstrating how desire flows through language, an unstoppable flood of allusion (both literary and pop-cultural), word-play, and extravagant and outrageous sound-work.” (Mark Scroggins). Most recently is Checking In (Talonbooks, forthcoming, 2018) and Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, Italy, 2017), the libretto for her Spoken Word opera co-created with Grammy award winning composer, Sir Frank London.  She teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Dept. at Pratt Institute, is a 2017 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award recipient and winner of the 2016 Voce Donna Italia award for her contributions to feminist thinking. The “Adeena Karasick Archive” has been established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University. 

    But that's not all! As an added bonus, there was time enough for a Question and Answer session:

    It was a delightful and exhilarating evening of poetic performance and discussion!

  • 30 May 2018 8:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    General semantics is concerned with how events translate to perceptions, how they are further modified by the names and labels we apply to them, and how we might gain a measure of control over our own responses, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral.

    Trauma can be defined as an event that is experienced as deeply disturbing and distressing. Typically, psychological trauma is distinguished from physical trauma which involves some kind of bodily injury, wound, or harm, although psychological trauma can lead to somatic effects, and physical trauma is often accompanied by its psychological counterpart.

    How can we better understand the experience of trauma? What are the roles played by perception, language, and memory in our experience of traumatic events, and their aftereffects? How is trauma recognized, and repressed? What are the therapeutic approaches to coping with trauma? Is it possible for us, as human beings, to prepare ourselves for the possibilities of traumatic encounters?

    These and other questions were taken up by our panelists as we discussed a topic that deserves serious consideration. The participants on this program are as follows:

    Michelle S. Kramisen has her MA in Literature with a concentration in war literature and trauma theory from State University of New York, New Paltz. Currently based out of New York City, she teaches college writing and research courses including a course this semester on zombies and trauma, at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her chapter, “Confronting Trauma in the Zombie Apocalypse: Witnessing, Survivor Guilt, and Postmemory,” was recently published in a collection on media studies. She has presented on trauma, war literature, and media studies at conferences around the country.

    Lori Ramos earned her PhD in Media Ecology from New York University. Her early research and scholarship explored the role of media in shaping conceptions of and attitudes toward literacy. More recently, her interests in communication have evolved to include psychotherapy and the impact of trauma. She has received an MSW from Fordham University with a focus on clinical social work and also completed EMDR training for trauma therapy. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey and a staff therapist at Blanton-Peale Institute and Counseling Center in New York City.

    Matthew Butler enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1994, was assigned as a Combat Correspondent and attended the Defense Information School studying basic journalism, photojournalism, and military public relations. He is a combat veteran with deployments to Fallujah, Iraq, Helmond Province, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and South America. Matt's decorations include two Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Commendation Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and two Humanitarian Assistance Medals for response to humanitarian crisis in Djibouti and Kenya on two separate occasions. After retiring from the Marines in 2014, Matt completed his undergraduate degree in Organizational Leadership and is now the Director of Military and Veterans' Services at Fordham University where he assists service members and veterans with transitioning from the military to higher education, supports academic integration, career preparation and planning, health and wellness support, and connecting veterans with mentors, both student veteran mentors, and corporate partners. Matt has hosted panel discussions about PTS and Moral Injuries and continuous to be a strong advocate for veterans. Matt works closely with New York City's Department of Veterans' Services and is Executive Member of Veterans on Campus NYC, a public-private venture to support service members and veterans making the transition to colleges and universities in New York City. 

    The discussion was moderated by Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, President of the New York Society for General Semantics, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics, author of several books including Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition (2017), and On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essays on General Semantics and Media Ecology (2011), and co-editor of several anthologies including Korzybski And... (2012).

    It was a program that tackled a topic of profound significance and concern!

  • 20 Feb 2018 1:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At the 58th annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English, held in Milwaukee on November 29, 1968, Neil Postman gave an address entitled "Growing Up Relevant" as the main part of a program session entitled Media Ecology: The English of the Future. This talk was later published as a book chapter in the anthology, High School 1980: The Shape of the Future in American Secondary Education, edited by Alvin C. Eurich, where it appeared under the title of  The Reformed English Curriculum.

    In conjunction with the 1974 Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics, Postman delivered an address entitled, Media Ecology: General Semantics in the Third Millennium, emphasizing the link between the two. A similar connection was made in the 1969 book he co-authored with Charles Weingartner, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, which introduced “the Sapir-Whorf-Korzybski-Ames-Einstein-Heisenberg-Wittgenstein-McLuhan-Et Al. Hypothesis … that language is not merely a vehicle of expression, it is also the driver; and that what we perceive, and therefore can learn, is a function of our languaging processes.” 

    Postman's 1968 address marks the formal introduction of the term media ecology, which Postman used as the name for a field of inquiry that he defined as the study of media as environments. As this year marks the 50th anniversary of that talk, it seemed only fitting to revisit "The Reformed English Curriculum," and the equally seminal, "Media Ecology: General Semantics in the Third Millennium," as our first NYSGS event of 2018. What can we learn about the history of media ecology as a field, its relation to general semantics, to the study of language and the subject of English? What can we learn about Neil Postman in particular, and his views on education, communication, and culture? To what extent have things changed over the past half century, and to what extent do they remain the same?

    We had the rare opportunity of presenting a program consisting entirely of out-of-towners who have converged on New York City to attend the annual Media Ecology Association board meeting. The participants on this program were:

    Stephanie Bennett, Professor of Communication and Media Ecology and Fellow for Student Engagement at Palm Beach Atlantic University in South Florida, and author of the Within the Walls trilogy, which employs fiction to explore the future of digital media, relationship sustainability, and community.

    Fernando Gutiérrez, head of the Division of Humanities and Education at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (State of Mexico Campus), and author and co-editor of several titles about media.

    Paolo Granata, holder of the Marshall McLuhan and Print Culture professorship at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, after spending 15 years at the University of Bologna, Italy, and author of Arte in ReteArte, Estetica e Nuovi Media;  Mediabilia; and Ecologia dei Media.

    and moderating the discussion, Edward Tywoniak, Professor of Communication, Director of the W. M. Keck Media Lab and Program Director for the Digital Studies major at Saint Mary’s College of California, Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics, editor of ETC: A Review of General Semantics, and President of the Media Ecology Association.

    It was a program that was both intriguing and unique!

  • 02 Jan 2018 3:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    General semantics has long been concerned with the uses, misuses, and abuses of language. As the primary form of human symbolic communication, language is a tool through which we learn about our environment, make sense of our surroundings, evaluate and act upon our world. Language is the foundation of human intelligence and time-binding, our capacity for learning, both individually and collectively. 

    The processes of learning and education are also among our most central concerns. Over the years, leading educationists such as Neil PostmanAshley Montagu, and Jerome Bruner have been associated with general semantics. And that should come as no surprise since general semantics represents an educational movement in its own right, one devoted to incorporating the benefits of the scientific method to human relations, improving our methods of evaluation and understanding, and maximizing human potential.

    Early in the 20th century, play was recognized as an important part of our learning processes, one that is closely connected to our capacity for symbol use, language learning, and cognitive and emotional development. The role of play and creativity in education has gained increasingly greater emphasis in recent decades, along with greater interest in the interactions and interdependencies among speech and language, literacy and media, and art and play, as they all relate to learning.

    On our December 6th program, our panelists discussed the relationships between play, learning, and language, and these related topics. The participants were:

    Robert Albrecht, Professor of Media Arts at New Jersey City University, author of Mediating the Muse: A Communications Approach to Music, Media, and Cultural Change (2004), and a musician and songwriter, his two CDs are A Tale of Two Cities (2012), consisting of original songs about Jersey City and Hoboken, andSong of the Poet (2008), consisting of poems by Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, and others set to music. He is currently co-authoring a book tentatively entitled, The Arts as Pedagogy in the Age of Digital Technology: Teaching as a Creative Activity.

    Margaret M. Cassidy, Professor and Chair of Communications at Adelphi University and Past President of the New York State Communication Association, author of BookEnds: The Changing Media Environment of American Classrooms (2004), and the recently published Children, Media, and American History:  Printed Poison, Pernicious Stuff, and Other Terrible Temptations (2017).

    Michael Plugh, Professor of Communication at Manhattan College, Immediate Past President of the New York State Communication Association, Internet Officer and Executive Board member of the Media Ecology Association, and member of the New York Society for General Semantics Board of Directors, currently researching innovative initiatives in schooling.

    The discussion was moderated by 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 Ecology and Executive Board member of the Media Ecology Association, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics, President of the New York Society for General Semantics, author of several books including Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition (2017), and On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essays on General Semantics and Media Ecology (2011), and co-author of several anthologies including Taking Up McLuhan's Cause: Perspectives on Media and Formal Causality(2017) and Korzybski And... (2012).

    It was a program that was most certainly elucidating and enlightening!

  • 05 Dec 2017 2:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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!

  • 30 Oct 2017 7:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On October 8th we hosted a mind-blowing program featuring mentalist Marc Salem. Here's the description:

    We all have wished for, at one time or another, the power to read minds and decipher the thoughts of others. And while true ESP may be out of reach, it is possible to interpret clues to what others are thinking, a power that leads to greater success at work, in relationships, and in every aspect of life. The key is to pay attention to aspects of our world that we typically overlook, find the hidden meaning in conversations, negotiations, and personal encounters, and understand the meaning of nonverbal communication.

    Marc Salem, aka Professor Moshe Botwinick, holds advanced degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University, where he earned his PhD studying with Neil Postman, Christine Nystrom, and Terence Moran, and has served as book review editor of ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has been on the faculty of several major universities, was a director of research at Sesame Street Workshop where he studied the development and nature of mental processes, and is a world-renowned entertainer. 

    His show, Mind Games, has completed two successful runs on Broadway, as well as the Sydney Opera House, Singapore's Esplanade, London's West End, and the Edinburgh Festival. Salem has been profiled on 60 Minutes, and been featured on Court TV, CNN, The O'Reilly FactorMontel, and Maury. The New York Police Department, and businesses across the country have turned to Marc Salem for advice. 

    He is the author of Marc Salem's Mind Games: A Practical Step-By-Step Guide to Developing Your Mental Powers, and The Six Keys to Unlock and Empower Your Mind, Spot Liars and Cheats, Negotiate Any Deal to Your Advantage, Win at the Office, Influence Friends, and Much More,  soon to be published in a second edition.

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