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History and Theory

Cold War Multimedia: The Democratic Surround

History and Theory
13 Nov, 2014

Cold War Multimedia: The Democratic Surround

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Original Post

Today we find ourselves surrounded by screens -- on our iPhones, our tablets, our desktop computers. Little do we know that we are living out the multimedia dreams of several dozen Cold War social scientists and propagandists, a handful of Bauhaus artists, and the musician John Cage. Stanford professor Fred Turner tracks those dreams from World War II to the psychedelic sixties and lays bare the long-buried cultural roots of an American media revolution.

Turner is an Associate Professor of Communication at Stanford University. He is the author of several books, including the widely acclaimed From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, and most recently, The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties. His essays have tackled topics ranging from the rise of reality television to the role of the Burning Man festival at Google.

The History and Theory of New Media Lecture Series brings to campus leading humanities scholars working on issues of media transition and technological emergence. The series promotes new, interdisciplinary approaches to questions about the uses, meanings, causes, and effects of rapid or dramatic shifts in techno-infrastructure, information management, and forms of mediated expression. Presented by the Berkeley Center for New Media, this event is free and open to the public.

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