In this course we will be mapping-out world communication and the cross-cultural outlines of our so-called "global village." In the first part of the course, we will look at the rise of international communication systems and the development of this thing we call "global culture." In the second, we will examine some of the modern techniques and technologies of the information revolution--computers, satellites, the news, digital imaging, fiber optics--and a variety of their influences on cultural development and new world orders. Finally, in the third part of the course, we will take a critical look at the future--the future of the mass audience; issues of inter-cultural ethics, privacy, world politics, and intersections between science and science fiction.
Throughout the course, our focus will be on understanding the dynamics of a media ecology, that is, an understanding of media and communication systems not only as processors of information, but also as means of expression, conveyors and creators of cultural identity, and ultimately, as symbolic environments in which we live. Our objective will be to assess the merits and limitations of technological developments in media and their implications for global communication. The course will be divided into three units as follows: