Taking Courses in Arcosanti

Media, Technology & Ecology

The essential goal of this course is for students to understand the relationship between ecology, technology, and our civilization – as visualized in our media and culture. By the completion of this course, students will be able to apply critical media theory to identify and evaluate the dominant narratives of ecology and technology. Students will learn how these narratives of ecology and technology have shaped how we envision our cities and civilizations. The course will recognize the ethical and existential issues involving media, capital, globalization, and environmental justice.

Faculty Program Leaders

Barry Vacker

Barry Vacker teaches media and cultural studies at Temple University, where he is an associate professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production. From 2009 to 2014, Vacker served as faculty teaching mentor in the Klein College of Media and Communication. A full-time professor for 19 years, he earned his PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communication, Philosophy, Law from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995.

Over the years, Vacker has written numerous articles, books and chapters on art, culture, media and technology. Recent topics include Facebook and the Hubble telescope, zombies and satellites, and the proliferation of apocalyptic scenarios in the mind-expanding book: The End of the World—Again. Such work is centered on creating and developing cosmic media theory, which seeks to expand our understanding of how film, media technology, monumental earthworks (land art)  andscience reflect and shape our visions of human destiny in the vast universe.

When not in Philadelphia during the summers, Vacker can be found hanging out in and around Marfa, Texas, where he owns some desert land with amazing sunsets and access to art, nature, science and some crazily ambitious experimental projects. Learn more about the Marfa area, including Big Bend National Park, the Blue Origin space launch site, the Chinati Foundation, the Clock of the Long Now and the McDonald Observatory.

Patrick Murphy

Patrick D. Murphy (PhD, Ohio University) is associate dean for research and graduate studies and associate professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production in the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University.  He is former chair of the Department of Media Studies and Production in Klein and former chair of the Department of Mass Communications at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Murphy has served as a visiting professor in the School of Communication and Humanities, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Querétaro, México. Additionally, he was a Fulbright-Garcia Robles fellow in Mexico, has served as a delegate of the American Documentary Showcase series, administered by the University Film and Video Association and funded in part by the U.S. Department of State, and has taught as a visiting professor for the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program.

His teaching and research interests include documentary media, ethnographic method, global media, Latin American media and cultural theory, media and the environment, and media and social justice. Murphy is the author of The Media Commons: Globalization and Environmental Discourses (University of Illinois Press, 2017), a book that explores how global media systems shape a contradictory environmental consciousness by paradoxically promoting the unsustainable consumption ravaging our planet. At the same time, it offers more progressive discourses of ecological intervention and redemption. Murphy is also co-editor of Negotiating Democracy: Media Transformation in Emerging Democracies (SUNY, 2007) and Global Media Studies (Routledge, 2003), and his work has appeared in Communication, Culture and Critique; Communication Theory; Cultural Studies; Global Media and Communication; Journal of International Communication; Popular Communication; and Qualitative Inquiry, as well as chapters in many edited books.  He has also translated into English articles by some of Latin America’s most prominent communication scholars.