Comparative literacies centre to be named after McLuhan

Stong College has been given permission by Corinne McLuhan, wife of the late communications theorist Marshall McLuhan, to use his name to support an initiative aimed at creating a centre for the study of comparative literacies at York University.

Human Resources Development Canada has granted the McLuhan Initiative for the Study of Literacies seed money to develop a strategic business plan by April 2008. Karen Dempster has been hired to join the McLuhan team to develop the plan and coordinate some activities of the initiative.

The McLuhan initiative team includes B.W. Powe, author, English professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and friend of the McLuhan family; Professor Eric Willis of York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health; Modupe Olaogun, master of Stong College; Rob Bishop, centre administrator; and Dempster, who is the acting managing director.

McLuhan events at York:

  • The McLuhan Speaker Series presents composer, educator, visual artist, environmentalist and provocateur R. Murray Schafer, speaking on “McLuhan, the Soundscape and Acoustic Ecology.” The talk takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, in the Winters Dining Room, Winters College, Keele campus.
  • The series continues with a pair of talks by Eric McLuhan, author and son of Marshall McLuhan, on the future of literacy. The two-part lecture will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 21 & 28, from 4 to 6pm, in the Olga Cirak Junior Common Room, Stong College, Keele campus. Eric McLuhan is currently associate director of the McLuhan Program International. He lectures throughout the world on communication theory and media and collaborated with his father on The Medium is the Message and War and Peace in the Global Village, and published Laws of Media after his death.
  • A book launch was held for B.W. Powe’s Mystic Trudeau: The Fire and the Rose, on Oct. 30. In his book, Powe writes about the friendship between Marshall McLuhan and former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in this long-awaited philosophical memoir of one of Canada’s most visionary leaders. (See story in the Oct. 29 issue of YFile.)