Andrew McLuhan Teaches Understanding Media Intensive

This course covering Part One of Understanding Media took place Fall 2020. Enroll in the Spring 2021 course covering Part Two here.

Understanding Media Intensive is a 12-part look at media theorist Marshall McLuhan's major 1964 work "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man," taught by Andrew McLuhan, Director of The McLuhan Institute. In an age where our media environment conditions and structures our reality in increasingly potent ways, Understanding Media provides important foundational knowledge on how our cultural traumas and tropes are embodied in technologies. This course will provide lecture and discussion on Part One of the book, which puts forth a set of tools for exploring human technologies and innovations as a means to regain agency in the midst of our increasingly disorienting online lives.

Lectures will include explorations and explanations of never-before-seen author annotations, historical documents, and personal accounts. Time will also be spent on the two introductions by Marshall McLuhan, and an introduction "Foreword is Forearmed," written in 2002/2003 by Eric McLuhan but never published. A scrapbook of materials around the publication of the book in 1964 compiled by Marshall's wife Corinne McLuhan, containing reviews and interviews, will add further context to how the book was received and provide insight into the material under discussion.

Classes will happen live every Saturday from 11-2pm PDT / 2-5pm EDT taking place online from October 3rd through December 19th.


Every Saturday, October 3 through
December 19

Times: 11am – 2pm PDT / 2pm – 5pm EDT

Live Access – $600
Engage in weekly lectures, live chat, and Q&A with Andrew McLuhan

Audit Access – $360
View documented weekly lectures following each session

Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced. Effort will be made to accommodate all levels of familiarity and understanding with Marshall McLuhan's work.

• Computer/device to watch or listen to lectures and participate in Q&A.
• Participants are asked to use a physical copy of the 2003 Gingko Press "Critical Edition" of "Understanding Media," as it includes both of Marshall McLuhan's introductions, and for easy reference to page numbers, as well as to receive full benefit from deep immersion in printed text.
• Pen and paper

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Course Outline

1 - Preface to McLuhan
• Practical Criticism
• Metaphor, Aphorism, Empiricism
• Understanding Poetry > Understanding Media
• NAEB Report on Project in Understanding New Media
• 'Foreword is Forarmed' Eric McLuhan 2002/2003
• UMR (Understanding Media, Revised, 1970) > LoM (Laws of Media, 1988)
• Introduction of MM's annotated works

2 - Introductions
• Introductions 1 and 2 to UM by Marshall McLuhan
• Overview of 'Marshall McLuhan's Theory of Communication: The Yegg' from 'Theories of Communication' (Marshall and Eric McLuhan, 2011)

Examining "Understanding Media"
• Chapter 1: The Medium is the Message
• Chapter 2: Media Hot and Cold
• Chapter 3: Reversal of the Overheated Medium
• Chapter 4: The Gadget Lover: Narcissus Narcosis
• Chapter 5: Hybrid Energy: Les Liasons Dangereuses
• Chapter 6: Media as Translators
• Chapter 7: Challenge and Collapse: The Nemesis of Creativity


Andrew McLuhan

Andrew McLuhan is a grandson of Marshall McLuhan, noted Canadian professor from the University of Toronto who was a pioneer in the field of Media/Communications studies. Andrew's father, Eric McLuhan, was Marshall's eldest son, who worked with Marshall from the mid-1960s until Marshall died in 1980. From 1980 until his death in 2018, Eric McLuhan continued the work he began with his father, completing important works such as 'Laws of Media: The New Science' (1980) 'Media and Formal Cause (2011) 'Theories of Communication' (2011) among other solo works. In 2009 Andrew began work documenting and inventorying Marshall McLuhan's annotated library (now at the Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, and named to UNESCO's 'Memory of the World Register' of globally-significant cultural artifacts) which was his first major McLuhan project, and has been the subject of several speeches. For about a decade, Andrew acted as Eric McLuhan's part-time assistant, student, and travel companion, accompanying him on speaking tours near and far, getting deeper and deeper into the unique McLuhan tradition of exploring culture and technology. Andrew acted as Eric McLuhan's part-time assistant, student, and travel companion, accompanying him on speaking tours near and far, getting deeper into the unique McLuhan, tradition of exploring culture and technology. The more he learned, the more he wanted to share, and he has been writing and speaking and teaching workshops, classes, and courses. Following Eric’s unexpected death in 2018, Andrew has kept going on his own. Andrew is director of The McLuhan Institute, created in 2017 to continue the work begun by Marshall McLuhan and Eric McLuhan in exploring and understanding culture and technology. He lectures globally at universities, speaks and gives workshops and consults at companies. Understanding Media Intensive is his most in-depth course, leading two full cohorts through Gray Area since 2020.

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