Social History of the Media

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to offer the basic foundations of a social history of the media. Starting from the critical analysis of the concept of medium, we will investigate:
- the way in Western culture the transition from orality, to writing, to the diffusion of mobile printing, to the advent of mass and new media and the historical-cultural consequences of these epochal transitions has been configured;
- the way in which the media have assumed and assumed different meanings, uses and social functions in non-European countries.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course students will acquire the following knowledge, skills and competences:
- knowledge of the fundamental moments of the social history of the western media from its origins to the present day;
- competence in reading critically (also useful for application purposes) the relationship between technologies and economic and socio-cultural contexts
- ability to orientate theoretically and practically in the world of contemporary communication, through a reflective and critical attitude
- ability to analyze and understand the specificity of the different social media stories in non-European countries
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
The course will take place entirely remotely. Part of the lessons will be held synchronously on the Teams platform, part of the lessons asynchronously will be uploaded on the Ariel platform.
At the beginning of the course a detailed lesson plan will be provided to the students.
Course syllabus
in the first part of the course, we will analyze the way in which the transition from orality, to writing, to the diffusion of mobile printing, to the advent of mass and new media and the historical and cultural consequences of these epochal transitions was configured. The comparison with non-European contexts will allow a thorough understanding of the complex relationships between technologies, linguistic ideologies, economic and social contexts.
The second part will deal specifically with the new media, investigating the socio-cultural particularities of their diffusion in the various European and non-European socio-cultural contexts.
Prerequisites for admission
The course requires the knowledge of twentieth century history.
Teaching methods
The teaching of the course offers synchronous and asynchronous lessons, practical exercises, case studies, guest lectures, video projection.
Slides, educational material, references will be available at the end of each lesson on the course website:
Teaching Resources
For attendng students:
- critical readings presented during the course
- A. Biscaldi, V. Matera. Antropologia del social media, Carocci, Roma, 2019
For not attending students:
- Asa Brigs, Peter Burke, Storia sociale dei media. Da Gutemberg a Internet, Il Mulino Bologna, 2010
- Angela Biscaldi, Vincenzo Matera, Antropologia del social media, Carocci, Roma, 2019
Assessment methods and Criteria
For atteding student the final exam is an oral exam where students will discuss topics covered during the course. During the course attending students will be given short individual exercises which will also be the exam topic.
For non-attending students, the final ewam is an oral exam where students discuss scheduled texts.
M-STO/04 - CONTEMPORARY HISTORY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Biscaldi Angela
Educational website(s)