The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and the Politics of Attention in Cold War America (Fred Turner)


Date: Apr 03, 2014

Speaker: Fred Turner, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Stanford University
Moderator: Richard John, Professor of History and Communications, Columbia University

This talk begins with World War II-era widespread fear that mass media technologies might turn Americans into authoritarians. It then recounts how American social scientists and Bauhaus refugees collaborated to produce new multimedia environments to turn citizens in explicitly democratic directions and bolster their will to fight fascism, which became the basis of both two decades of cold war American propaganda and multimedia utopianism of the 1960s. Turner reveals long-forgotten links between the counterculture and mainstream, cold war America—as well as the long-hidden roots of our contemporary social world.

Fred Turner is Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Stanford University. His books include 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 from the rise of reality TV to the role of Burning Man at Google. Fred Turner’s Essays can be found here.

Co-sponsored with the Communications Ph.D. Program, Columbia Journalism School.

Date: Apr 03, 2014

Speaker: Fred Turner, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Stanford University
Moderator: Richard John, Professor of History and Communications, Columbia University

This talk begins with World War II-era widespread fear that mass media technologies might turn Americans into authoritarians. It then recounts how American social scientists and Bauhaus refugees collaborated to produce new multimedia environments to turn citizens in explicitly democratic directions and bolster their will to fight fascism, which became the basis of both two decades of cold war American propaganda and multimedia utopianism of the 1960s. Turner reveals long-forgotten links between the counterculture and mainstream, cold war America—as well as the long-hidden roots of our contemporary social world.

Fred Turner is Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Stanford University. His books include 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 from the rise of reality TV to the role of Burning Man at Google. Fred Turner’s Essays can be found here.

Co-sponsored with the Communications Ph.D. Program, Columbia Journalism School.

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