A follow up on my previous post ‘Reading: Orality and Literacy’ as a response to my course leader’s comment:
Now, what about something more?
Why do you think this goes in Media Technologies? Who was Father Ong? What did he do, and who was he working with? Why did his work matter?
Why does the notion of orality (and per extension the notion of writing) happen in this before-the-module kind of thing?
Of course is another possible blog entry, but these lines of thought could help anchoring this text into some idea of what the module is trying to do…
The below will contain more thoughts, than cohesive arguments or answers.
The relevance of the study of Orality in regards to media technologies.
I believe the nature of orality is important to touch upon in regards to technology. In one sense, technology allows another form of communication that is not as simple as oral or non-oral as we speak through ‘messenger’ for example in a relaxed, often informal way that can mimic a more verbal oral conversation. It is very much unlike its other written brother, the email. Technology also offers a great many platforms that offer a combination of oral and written literature. Think of Snapchat and Twitter, Periscope, Instagram and YouTube and the list goes on.
To put it succinctly, oral tradition (OT) and Internet technology (IT) share the core dynamic of navigating through networks, of blazing a trail through webs of potentials. Rather than tracking along the fixed, linear sequence typical of texts, OT and IT foster co-creative, participatory, contingent, and ever-emergent experiences. In other words, they mime the way we think.
(See more: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/229725)
2. Walter J. Ong and why his work on Orality mattered.
Walter Jackson Ong, was a American priest, professor, historian and philosopher. His major interest was in exploring how the transition from orality to literacy influenced culture and changed human consciousness.
Ong’s scholarship was recognized around the world. His seminal Orality and Literacy was translated into a dozen languages, both European and Asian.
Fr. Ong’s advice was sought across several fields of expertise. He served on the editorial boards of a number of academic journals, was a member of various national committees for the Modern Language Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council on Education, and served as President of the Milton Society of America and the Modern Language Association. In 1967, he served on the 14 member White House Task Force on Education under President Lyndon B. Johnson.
(See more: https://www.slu.edu/the-ong-center/walter-j-ong-sj-biography-and-remembrances)
Ong was extremely influential and well respected in his field. His work on Orality and Literature was popular and made him a focus on the world stage.
His academic advisor was Marshall McLuhan who is also a key player in our research during this module. He was a Canadian professor, philosopher and a public intellectual. His work is one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries.