Increasingly, what we know, how we know it, and how we relate to the world is determined by the digital tools we use, and the programmes that structure the digital environment. Delivering a distinguished lecture hosted by the Department of Communication, S N School, on 6th November 2013, media scholar and historian William Uricchio, who holds joint appointments at MIT and Utrecht University, spoke about the need for us to develop a new sort of cultural literacy, one more suited to the rapidly evolving digital information landscape.

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Uricchio sees this as a moment of “disruption”, one which demands a shift in the questions and concerns of humanities scholarship.  Contrasting Wikipedia with Diderot’s Encyclopedia, Uricchio pointed to the fluidity of the text, the indeterminacy of authorship, and the contingency of the experience of reading–all markers of the digital age. Uricchio lamented the fact that cutbacks in higher education had seriously affected humanities scholarship. He suggested that this could be addressed only if scholars begin asking questions that are relevant to the digital age, given that these environments have serious implications for governance, trade, and, at the most fundamental level, issues of knowledge production, identity and representation.

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The lecture was attended by students, faculty and staff of the University. Dr. Usha Raman, Head, Department of Communication introduced the speaker while Prof. Vinod Pavarala, senior faculty and UNESCO Chair on Community Media at S N School proposed a vote of thanks. Prof. Ananthakrishnan, Dean, S N School of Arts and Communication presided.

 

By Dr. Usha Raman, Head, Department of Communication

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