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Media in Transition

A Critical Discourse

In Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage, experts offer a critical and theoretical appraisal of the uses of digital media by cultural heritage institutions. Previous discussions of cultural heritage and digital technology have left the subject largely unmapped in terms of critical theory; the essays in this volume offer this long-missing perspective on the challenges of using digital media in the research, preservation, management, interpretation, and representation of cultural heritage.

The artists of the seventeenth-century baroque period used spectacle to delight and astonish; contemporary entertainment media, according to Angela Ndalianis, are imbued with a neo-baroque aesthetic that is similarly spectacular. In Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment, she situates today's film, computer games, comic books, and theme-park attractions within an aesthetic-historical context and uses the baroque as a framework to enrich our understanding of contemporary entertainment media.

The Aesthetics of Transition

The essays in Rethinking Media Change center on a variety of media forms at moments of disruption and cultural transformation. The editors' introduction sketches an aesthetics of media transition—patterns of development and social dispersion that operate across eras, media forms, and cultures. The book includes case studies of such earlier media as the book, the phonograph, early cinema, and television. It also examines contemporary digital forms, exploring their promise and strangeness.

Digital technology is changing our politics. The World Wide Web is already a powerful influence on the public's access to government documents, the tactics and content of political campaigns, the behavior of voters, the efforts of activists to circulate their messages, and the ways in which topics enter the public discourse. The essays collected here capture the richness of current discourse about democracy and cyberspace. Some contributors offer front-line perspectives on the impact of emerging technologies on politics, journalism, and civic experience.

Reminding us that all media were once new, this book challenges the notion that to study new media is to study exclusively today's new media. Examining a variety of media in their historic contexts, it explores those moments of transition when new media were not yet fully defined and their significance was still in flux. Examples range from familiar devices such as the telephone and phonograph to unfamiliar curiosities such as the physiognotrace and the zograscope. Moving beyond the story of technological innovation, the book considers emergent media as sites of ongoing cultural exchange.