“New German Media Theory and Its Turn”, first session of the lectures was held


Ph.D. Christoph Engemann, a researcher at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, upon the invitation of Institute of German Culture at School of International Studies, gave the first session of the lectures entitled “New German Media Theory and Its Turn”. The session, the first of a series of six, started from the concept of New German Media Theory and made a systematic analysis of its development context and technological turn.

On September 16, the first session was held on Zoom, moderated by Dr. LIU Yongqiang, Associate Professor of the School. He first gave a warm welcome and brief introduction and then Dr. Christoph Engemann outlined the reading lists and syllabus for the lectures.

Dr. Christoph Engemann oriented the students to the discussions on the concept of “Medien”. Dr. LIU talked about the differences between “meijie” and “meiti” in the Chinese context: the word “ti in meiti” in Chinese charactersimplies a physical entity, which is usually associated with mass media, e.g. radio and television; while “jie in meijie” in Chinese characters means “in between” (dazwischen), which can be both tangible and intangible, exemplified by “wind” and “air”.

Then, Dr. Christoph Engemann gave a detailed introduction to the concept of “meijie” and “media studies”. Communication, not on “what is a medium”, focuses on how information is presented and the contents of information. Media studies involve the issue of “Dazwischen”, which is beyond the traditional paradigm of information carrying and dissemination. Different from communication studies, media studies also conduct theoretical studies on the dimensions of perception, culture and political structure.

In the second half of the lecture, Dr. Christoph Engemann detailed the impact of media theory. Dieter Mersch, a media theorist, argued that media concepts cannot be shaped actively. The statement actually touched upon the boundary between communication and media. It is difficult for people to have a definite and conceptual grasp of “medien” in the ontological sense, and the concept of media is always open to itself. Dieter Mersch further proposed that media studies are to search for traces (Spurensuch) in the old and new phenomena of science or art; on the one hand, from the historical changes of cultural storage methods and transmission forms; on the other, it also explores the extent to which media reflect their readability, intelligibility, as well as the generation and dissemination of meaning.

At the end of the lecture, Dr. Christoph Engemann talke about media changes. There was a transition from oral records to written words, to printing, and now to wide spread of computer networks, so what will future hold for us? The lecture rounded off successfully in the reflection and discussion of this topic. The next five sessions of the lectures will be held on ZOOM platform later on. All students and teachers are welcome!

Text by Jiang Shuqi

Institute of German Culture, Institute of German Studies

September 17, 2021

Translated by Xu Xueying

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