The Year of Mumford

Although the past year was the centennial of Marshall McLuhan’s birth and 2012 is the centennial of both Jacques Ellul and Walter Ong, for me, 2012 seems to be lining up as the Year of Mumford.

Over the holidays, I got my hands on Mumford’s biography by Donald L. Miller and the Aaron Copeland-scored documentary film called “The City” with commentary from Lewis Mumford. Mumford has long been one of my favorite scholars and I find myself turning to his work fairly often for inspiration and insight. The technical excellence of his historical approach is matched only by the humanism embedded in his tone and style.

I expect that I’ll be posting a lot more about Mumford as I get through the biography and watch the film a few times. Likewise, I’m going to be re-reading some of his other work with a new appreciation for the biographical influences on his thinking. For now, I leave you with this clip to start things off. An appetizer before the new year…

Happy holidays!
Mike

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About mikeplugh

Media Ecology General Semantics Baseball Japan Fordham University
This entry was posted in ecology, historical, media, technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Year of Mumford

  1. Lance Strate says:

    Mumford is foundational for understanding media ecology. I applaud your initiative, Mike, that’s the way to do it!

  2. mikeplugh says:

    Mumford has always been my favorite of the media ecology pantheon (outside Postman, of course) and I feel like I need to reboot my relationship with him this year. I’ve read Technics and Civilization and often refer back to it, and I have read the Myth of the Machine duo. I have a handful of his articles and speeches in my files, but the biography adds a new dimension (as the McLuhan biography did over the last year as I revisited HMM). I feel much more in touch with Mumford’s work as I get through the early chapters of his life and my kinship with the man is growing stronger. I understand him, somehow.

    I’m also leaning towards getting into Peirce a bit more this year, but the mathematical quality of the logic is daunting. I’m not wired to intuitively work in that vein, so it’s much more strenuous. Any advice would be appreciated.

  3. Lance Strate says:

    On Mumford, I strongly recommend Art and Technics (a rare short work), and The City in History, if you haven’t gotten to them yet. On Peirce, I’m hoping to get more into his work in this coming semester, and I’ll let you know if I have any suggestions for you.

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