Revolution Lullabye

March 18, 2009

Bolter, Critical Theory and the Challenge of New Media

Bolter, Jay David. “Critical Theory and the Challenge of New Media.” In Eloquent Images. Eds. Hocks and Kendrick. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. 19-36.

Bolter argues that writing teachers have a unique position in the university for approaching new media as a critical practice, distinct from the critical analysis done in the humanities and the practice of new media done in graphic design and fine arts. His chapter explores the binaries present in the study of new media (dichotomies present in other areas of the university as well): theory/practice; critique/production; the ideological/the formal; the verbal/the visual, seeing how the critical practice of design in new media challenges them. Bolter shows how his department at Georgia Tech plays with the tensions in these dichotomies in an eclectic, multidisciplinary way.

Quotable Quotes

“The World Wide Web and other new media challenge not only the form of the book, but also the representational power of the printed word.” (21)

repurpose v. remediate: repurpose = “pour content from one media form into another, while attempting to replicate the earlier medium’s definition of the authentic.” (29) remediate = “to borrow the sense of the authentic from one media form and to refashion it for another” (29), what good Web designers do.

“a new critical theory is needed that can make us aware of the cultural and historical contexts (and ideologies) without dismissing or downplaying the formal characteristics of new media” (34)

“design in context must be critical and productive at the same time” (34)

Notable Notes

can the Internet replace printed books? is that the goal?

new media as a critical vehicle, you do something with it, not just talk about it or critique it.

educators are trying to close that theory/practice binary

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