Berkeley Film & Media Seminar

Armond towns 1200w 3

The Medium is the Message, Revisited

Thu, Sep 23, 2021, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Zoom meeting

Armond R. Towns

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Who is the human in media philosophy?

Though media philosophers have argued since the twentieth century that media are fundamental to being human, this question has not been explicitly asked and answered in the field.

Armond R. Towns demonstrates that humanity in media philosophy has implicitly referred to a social Darwinian understanding of the human as a Western, white, male, and capitalist figure. Using Black studies and cultural studies, Towns develops an insightful critique of this dominant conception of the human in media philosophy on his way to building a foundation for Black media philosophy. Grounded in fascinating cases, including the narratives of the Underground Railroad, the politics of the Black Panther Party, and the digitization of Michael Brown’s killing, On Black Media Philosophy deftly illustrates that media are not only important for Western humanity, but central to alternative Black epistemologies and other ways of being human.

Armond R. Towns is Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. His research and teaching focuses on the relationship between media, communication, race, blackness, and history. He is the author of On Black Media Philosophy (forthcoming with the University of California Press, 2022). He is working on a second book that takes a Black studies approach to the history of media and communication studies.