McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology

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The McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology started in 1963 as the Centre for Culture and Technology, initially a card pinned to the door of Marshall McLuhan's office in the English Department at the University of Toronto. In 1965, McLuhan draft Constitution for the center read: "The Centre is established to advance the understanding of the origins and effects of technology" to "investigation into the psychic and social consequences of technologies."[1]


Initially the Centre had no organized program for research or teaching, but gained in prestige from the worldwide popularity of Understanding Media (1964) and grew in McLuhan's last decade in Toronto, assisted by Derrick de Kerckhove and McLuhan's son Eric, who became a director of the McLuhan Program International.[2] In 1994, the McLuhan Program became a part of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information. The program's curriculum is based on the works of Marshall McLuhan and other media theorists. In 2009, the Faculty of Information launched the Coach House Institute (CHI) as a clearly defined research unit under which the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology now operates. In 2016 under Interim Director, Prof Seamus Ross, the Institute receive approval for its renaming as the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology in recognition of Marshall McLuhan intellectual contributions. The McLuhan Program is now subsumed under this centre.

Sarah Sharma, an Associate Professor of Media Theory from the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT) and the Faculty of Information (St. George), began a five-year term as director. Professor Sharma's research and teaching focuses on feminist approaches to technology, including issues related to temporality and media.[3] Professor Sharma's thematic for the 2017–2018 Monday Night Seminars at the McLuhan Centre is MsUnderstanding Media which extends and introduces feminist approaches to technology to McLuhan's formulations of technology and culture.[4]

Media experiments[edit]

Between the 1950s and the early 1960s, the Center conducted an experiment that compared the effectiveness of TV, radio, lectures and print in learning.[5][6] The results were that the students retained more information from radio and television than they did from live lectures or printed material.[5] The experiment was replicated by Roach, Aman, Appleton, Bellyea and Lips. And then by Williams, Paul and Ogilvie.[6]


  1. ^ Marshall McLuhan (Draft Constitution, 1965)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Prof. Sarah Sharma Appointed Director of McLuhan Centre - McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology". McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology. 2016-12-13. Archived from the original on 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  4. ^ University of Toronto (2017-07-19). "Monday Night Seminars - McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology". McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  5. ^ a b McLuhan (1964) Understanding Media, ch.31 Television
  6. ^ a b Siegel, Howard B. McLuhan, Mass Media, and Education, in The journal of experimental education. 1973, Vol.41(3), p.68-70

External links[edit]