Description

Our relationship to media is one of deep involvement and deep ambivalence. We feel ourselves shaping the world through media: we express ourselves by writing, graphing, calling, and emailing. But we also feel these media shaping us, as communicative technology constrains how we think and act: Do news media distort the ideas they are supposed to transmit? How do translated and edited books like the Bible or Qur’an speak to publics as messages from God? If liberty is inseparable from the free flow of information, can we entrust public discourse to self-interested, profit-seeking markets? Our powers and hopes seem inextricably intertwined with our communication.

The mission of the Historical Media Colloquim is to discover specific, new, and useful ways of understanding how people have shaped media, and, in turn, how media have shaped people and places. Our scope is, by nature, global; accordingly,our methods are comparative. We are intrigued by and seek answers to an important question: can we discover the processes by which now-familiar vehicles of human knowledge took form and the means by which they assumed their current functions?

The colloquium is a combination reading group and workshop that includes a rich group of humanists and scientists (both "social" and "hard"), and representing areas ranging from American studies to Islam. The nature of our work alternates between the cutting-edge work of other scholars, and the presentation of our own work.

We recognize the necessity for open, thoughtful discussion that is collegial yet critical. We seek to create an atmosphere in which ideas can flow freely, and be challenged in constructive, focused ways. To this end, we distribute significant texts in advance, and assign experts to investigate and respond to any inquiries or criticisms. We reach across Trinity’s departments, but also seek academic cross-fertilization with institutions across the east coast.