Monday, January 17, 2005

Communication 226: A request and the upcoming readings.

Hey guys, remember we take pictures on Wednesday. Bring your "game face"!

I need to make a request of you. Many of you wrote that you would like to "study television" if you were to study anything in a communication course. That is fine, but it is far too vague. What, specifically, about television would you like to study? A particular type of programming? Social effects? Be specific! The more specific you are, the better I can help you help yourself. This is something that you can all do. If you wrote that you wanted to study advertising, you need to think more and more specifically about it. We will study mass society and community and that may sound general, but we will always be focused on a number of examples. For you to do your research you need to start focusing today. It doesn't mean you need to choose, but think about focusing to a few things you find interesting about your topic, an specific example if you will. We will come back to this over and over throughout the class.

Also, you have two short readings about writing and oral culture. In the first essay I would like you to pay attention to how writing, technologies and power are intimately connected. As you read it, are their contemporary connections between those in ancient Egypt and today? If so, what are they? Are there other examples in history where we see a shift in writing and technology affect power structures?

In the second essay, the issue has to do with how important "orality". Why does Ong believe that orality is so important for explaining issues of memory and knowledge? What is "secondary orality"? Can "orality" be "written"? If so, how? What kinds of technology would write "oral culture" and what kind of effect would this have on us?

These are discussion questions. Jot down some answers and come prepared to talk about this on Wednesday and, hopefully, we can take this into Friday as well.

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