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IUST’s Journalism dept pays tribute to Marshall McLuhan

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Prof Kidwai delivers special lecture

Awantipora: To revisit the legacy of the iconic communication theorist Marshall McLuhan on his death anniversary, the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (DJMC), Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) Friday held a virtual special lecture by Award-winning communication scientist Prof. Shafey Kidwai.

Prof. Kidwai, a bilingual critic, reviewer, translator and historian of Urdu Journalism, has been teaching communication studies, cultural theories, and print media for more than three decades at Aligarh Muslim University. He is professor and chairman of the department of Mass communication, AMU.

The special lecture was a tribute to Marshall McLuhan, communication theorist who revolutionized communication studies and how the way we perceive the advancement of communication technology around us. His aphorism “the medium is the message” summarized his theoretical conceptualization of the determinant influence of media. During the event, the guest speaker, Prof. Shafey Kidwai discussed the key philosophical ideas of Marshall McLuhan and highlighted his major contributions to the field of communication theory.

Speaking about the contemporary relevance of Marshall McLuhan’s ideas, Prof Kidwai stated that the ever-increasing influence and reliability on communication technologies have confirmed the relevance of McLuhan’s prophetic arguments about communication and society.

“Marshal McLuhan’s concepts and ideas provided philosophical basis to then existing media theory and in the contemporary times when we have plethora of media available, his theory about technological determinism becomes more relevant and worth studying for communication scholars,” he added.

Prof. Kidwai elaborated on McLuhan’s work “Understanding Media” (1964) and stated that McLuhan’s unprecedented approach towards theorizing the nature of medium itself has been a pathbreaking contribution to communication studies which opened up a new whole area about researching the determinism of medium in the advancing electronic age.

“McLuhan fundamentally focused on the medium not the content and argued that it is actually the characteristics of the medium itself which affect the recipients of the content and the society at large. McLuhan stated that the medium is like that lightbulb which enables an environment” Prof. Kidwai said.

Earlier Head of the Department, DJMC Dr. Mujeeb Liyakat, during his welcome address expressed his view on the contributions of Marshall McLuhan and said, “McLuhan Tetrad of media effects like rest of his ideas are quite relevant in contemporary times and we try to demonstrate media’s determinism in enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval and reversal as their effects on audience perception.”

Sr. Assistant Professor DJMC and Session Moderator Dr. Monisa Qadiri, also underlined the scholarly significance of McLuhan’s theoretical ideas and key concepts in contemporary media research.

“The underlying conceptualizations of McLuhan’s theory ushered into a new era of communication studies which opened up scholarly debates on the determinism of the medium in characterizing cultures and the world around us”, she added.

Earlier, the department had also produced a short video in the remembrance of Marshall McLuhan which highlights various aspects of his theory and graphically demonstrates its relevance in the contemporary digital age.

The special lecture witnessed active participation from both the current semester students including scholars and ex-students of the department. DJMC faculty members Dr. Rabia Noor, Dr. Arif Nadaf, Dr. Sayar Ahmad Mir and Dr. Tawseef Majeed were also present during the session.

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