A series of colloquia, lectures, and experimental workshops, cmap@vanderbilt is designed to explore the history, theory, and culture of older and newer media, including their interactions, rivalries, conversions, and mutual incorporations. The project brings together scholars in disciplines as diverse as art and art history, book history, communication studies, computer engineering, film studies, gaming, geographical mapping, literary and aesthetic theory, biomedical imaging, music, philosophy, and software studies. The project’s goal is twofold. Its first task is

  • to discuss the way in which different media structure the production of knowledge, the modes of cultural exchange, and the registers of artistic expression and sensory perception. Cutting across existing divisions of the academy, cmap@vanderbilt investigates pioneering scholarship on old and new media. It asks timely questions about the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of modern media so as to inspire innovative research agendas and energize new types of collaboration between humanists and scientists, between scholars and makers, between academy, entertainment culture, and tech-industry. Because the relationship between research and teaching is symbiotic we anticipate that this work will facilitate the second goal as well, which is
  • to examine the possibilities of building undergraduate and graduate programs around the critical analysis and innovative making of media objects. Integrating theory and practice, a program in Comparative Media Arts would particularly emphasize the role of digital technologies as creative means of knowing and interpreting the world, of reframing the past and imagining alternate futures. Students in such a program would approach digital media as objects of critical humanistic study and computing as a laboratory of creative thought and aesthetic experimentation. Graduates of this program would teach and research across various disciplines in the academy. As importantly, students would also be prepared to enjoy considerable success in the professional world outside of the academy and apply their creative expertise in media history, theory, and practice to the shifting landscapes of tomorrow’s media, art, and entertainment cultures.

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