Understanding Media Intensive is a 12-part look at media theorist Marshall McLuhan's major 1964 work "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man," taught by Andrew McLuhan, Director of The McLuhan Institute. In an age where our media environment conditions and structures our reality in increasingly potent ways, Understanding Media provides important foundational knowledge on how our cultural traumas and tropes are embodied in technologies. This course will provide lecture and discussion on Part One of the book, which puts forth a set of tools for exploring human technologies and innovations as a means to regain agency in the midst of our increasingly disorienting online lives. Lectures will include explorations and explanations of never-before-seen author annotations, historical documents, and personal accounts. Time will also be spent on the two introductions by Marshall McLuhan, and an introduction "Foreword is Forearmed," written in 2002/2003 by Eric McLuhan but never published. A scrapbook of materials around the publication of the book in 1964 compiled by Marshall's wife Corinne McLuhan, containing reviews and interviews, will add further context to how the book was received and provide insight into the material under discussion. Classes will happen live every Saturday from 11-2pm PST / 2-5pm EST taking place online from October 3rd through December 19th.
Andrew McLuhan is a grandson of Marshall McLuhan, noted Canadian professor from the University of Toronto who was a pioneer in the field of Media/Communications studies. Andrew's father, Eric McLuhan, was Marshall's eldest son, who worked with Marshall from the mid-1960s until Marshall died in 1980. From 1980 until his death in 2018, Eric McLuhan continued the work he began with his father, completing important works such as 'Laws of Media: The New Science' (1980) 'Media and Formal Cause (2011) 'Theories of Communication' (2011) among other solo works. In 2009 Andrew began work documenting and inventorying Marshall McLuhan's annotated library (now at the Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, and named to UNESCO's 'Memory of the World Register' of globally-significant cultural artifacts) which was his first major McLuhan project, and one he speaks on regularly - most recently at New York University 'Exit Through the Bookshop McLuhan Monograffiti.' (recording available on YouTube and part of a forthcoming publication.) For about a decade, Andrew acted as Eric McLuhan's part-time assistant, student, and travel companion, accompanying him on speaking tours near and far, getting deeper and deeper into the unique McLuhan tradition of exploring culture and technology. Andrew is director of The McLuhan Institute, created in 2017 to continue the work begun by Marshall McLuhan and carried on by Eric McLuhan in exploring and understanding culture and technology.