In our advanced media theory seminar at uOttawa each student is reading two classics to present in class. I chose this book by Canadian scholar Harold Innis, published in 1950. I have a weakness for big-picture theories. This work marks the beginning of Innis’s career as a communication scholar (as opposed to his work as a political economist) and it also marks an important point in the field of communication and media theory. Innis might not be as well known as Marshall McLuhan (“the medium is the message”) but today many scholars believe that McLuhan would not have existed without Innis’s powerful insights. Both of them were profs at the University of Toronto.

There is so much to say about this book and I suspect that it is one of those works that I will be going back to over the years only to discover new insights. It has many faults, but it is a seminal work that any media scholar would be wrong to dismiss. You can see my presentation by clicking here. Open speaker notes to see my comments.