Philosophy for a Multimedia World

In terms of scholarship, most of my time and energy for 2011-2012 will be devoted to the “Journalism School Partnership” program, which builds bonds between USC and CSJMM and attempts to strengthen both schools.

But I have an additional project. I’m beginning to write a book with the tentative title of Philosophy for a Multimedia World. In this book, I explain and analyze 16 philosophers’ ideas concerning communication and multimedia. Then I show how these philosophers’ ideas can help scholars develop new theories and how media workers can improve the creation and reception of multimedia messages.

Scholars and media workers need this book because most important theories explaining communication and mass media were created before the Web became popular. Professors are teaching theories that were created before people kept a mobile phone nearby day and night, 24/7, and before Facebook had 850 million active users. These “old media” theories may not apply to today’s new media. I suggest that we need new theories and we can develop these theories by studying philosophy.

My book differs in three ways from other books about the philosophy of communication: a) it considers more modes of messages, including photographs, films, paintings, and music, rather than being restricted to oral and written language; b) it emphasizes aesthetics and ethics of multimedia communication; and c) it looks forward to the future of multimedia communication as much as it looks back to past philosophers’ writings. The philosophers include, in rough chronological order, John Dewey, Martin Buber, Mikhail Bakhtin, Suzanne Langer, Gregory Bateson, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Marshall McLuhan, Nelson Goodman, Jurgen Habermas, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Vilem Flusser, Richard Shusterman, and Jaron Lanier.



About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

2 Responses to Philosophy for a Multimedia World

  1. Georgina says:

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you
    been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!

    • keithrkenney says:

      You are very kind. Thanks! I began blogging when I went to Tbilisi for some work in August 2011. I blogged every day for 330 days. Then I returned to my “real” job teaching at the University of South Carolina. Now I’m back in Tbilisi and blogging from June 17, 2013 to July 17, 2013. has improved bloggers’ ability to layout photos. In the past, I had to redo the design several times to get the effect I wanted.

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