Course Info

COM 355: Media Technology and Exploration

Monday/Wednesday 4:00-5:25, 115C WIH, Miami University

This course will introduce you to the diverse range of ways that media technologies have been used over the past 100 years. Exploration will serve as the central theme in relation to which we examine historical, cultural, and political issues raised by new communication technologies. As we will see as we move through the course material, at every historical juncture in which society into new frontiers, new media technologies often play a critical role.

We will study the various historical interactions between media technologies, including print, film, television, and digital media, and exploration, as both a specific set of historical encounters and a general approach to “blank” spaces. We will look at the ways that media technologies have functioned in relation to colonial exploration, exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic, of underwater spaces, of outer space, and of interior psychic and bodily spaces. We will end with an interrogation of the state of exploration today, when there seems to be nothing left to explore, and its relationship with the development of global tourism.

Driving this course will be questions about how media technologies have functioned as an apparatus of publicizing and securing support for exploratory activity. We will also look at how media produced about exploration, the map in particular, shapes future explorations and helps to open up new frontiers. In what ways have media technologies shaped knowledge that is produced about these frontiers, especially since it has been intertwined with scientific research and military conquest? While on one hand, we will address the dominant critique of exploration as tool of imperialism, we will also look at the productive and imaginative aspects of exploration. Students will come out of the class with understanding of historical function of media technologies in visualizing and producing knowledge about frontier spaces, an ability to critically discuss the concept of exploration, as well as the ability to interrogate and evaluate the role of media in exploratory practice.



Nicole Starosielski, nicole.starosielski [at] muohio [dot] edu

Office Hours: Tues/Wed 3-4pm


Required Text:

Course reader

Montgomery, R.A.. Journey under the Sea (Choose Your Own Adventure #2).

Penley, Constance. NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America. London: Verso, 1997.

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