Some of you may have noticed that I put a little Amazon link to the right for my book, Mediacology. I didn’t want to make an announcement until the book was actually in physical form. Well, that day has arrived, and after lots of blood sweat and dead brain cells, the book is now in stock and available. For more details you can click the tab above to view a synopsis, chapter-by-chapter breakdown, a short Slidecast presentation and more. I’m hoping that if you enjoy or support my efforts, please order the book, consider it for your class, tell a friend, and leave a nice review at Amazon.
A little background
The ideas in the book had been in the works for many years, but didn’t take form until I was approached by my editor, Shirley Steinberg, who asked me to make a proposal for her publisher. She edits a series of books on education for Peter Lang called, “Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education.” It was during this time that I was also writing an essay on digital media and education for the MacArthur Foundation’s Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media. It became the perfect opportunity to expand my thinking for MacArthur, and to make a lengthy critique of media literacy practices.
My initial concept was to call the book, Media Mindfulness. I had been practicing mindfulness meditation and became convinced that it was one of the only real ways to change one’s relationship with media’s tremendous influence on our minds. The problem was that as I was writing someone else came out with a book with the same name, so I had to change the title, and hence the book’s emphasis. This was fortuitous, because in the process of writing, though my ideas were fairly solid, I was a little stuck, and was trying to find a way to incorporate my evolving thinking about making media education more sustainable. Once I started to apply alternative ecological concepts– inspired by a Native American epistemology I developed in my MacArthur essay– it all started to come together. What I found was that by being ecological, my approach was also truly multicultural. And I don’t mean that in the sense that we apply Western educational theory to ads that feature people of color. When marketers change the color and codes of their ads to appeal to niche markets, they are only multicultural in the sense of who is being represented. I wanted to argue for a real multiculturalism that incorporates ways of thinking outside Western epistemology.
I have two audiences in mind. The first is those involved with the media literacy and reform movement, and the other is for those wanting to bridge ecology with media. I had some unfortunate experiences arguing for media literacy in the green movement, being rebuffed by a rather famous environmental media critic who thinks teaching literacy makes media too interesting. As for my media lit colleagues, I also wanted to challenge conventional thinking about media because I felt that fundamental assumptions concerning media are held up as unchallenged truths, and that these assumptions were hindering the movement’s success among cultures outside the Western paradigm of intellectual thought, and also preventing a truly ecological pedagogy. I tried to balance a conversational tone with academia. Whether or not I succeed depends on your reaction.
I had a year to write the book, during which my daughter was born. Sleep deprived and mentally exhausted, I patched this together and downloaded every possible idea in my head. In this sense, I probably could break the book into three or four other ones to delve a little deeper into the topics that each chapter touches upon. It’s probably true that all authors feel like their books are never finished, and I am no exception. But I feel good about the final product, and look forward to writing more. Now the creative part is done, and it’s on to real work of the text: getting it out there.
Thanks in advance for your input, feedback and help spreading the news. As always, I’ll be here, reporting back to you new ideas and announcements as they develop. Peace! Antonio
PS I took the photo that is used in the cover art.