A Media Archeology of Education Innovation History and Pandemics


William A. Hanff Jr.
University of the District of Columbia


How do we as researchers and educators discern how past institutions of higher education responded to pandemics and other social stresses, and what practices we can adopt from them? Combining Jussi Parikka’s ideas of media archeology with the radical post-colonialism of Nonwestern Educational Traditions by Timothy Reagan, this research explores specific artifacts of western and nonwestern systems of education innovation at specific periods in history, how these institutions responded to crises and pandemics, and what this suggests to our contemporary post-literate networked system of higher education. The emerging field of Media Archeology suggests a literature review mash-up and remix to find under-represented historical ideas around pedagogy and higher education. The impacts of these education innovations are seen through the artifacts such as ‘open plan’ school architecture, educational broadcasting, and proto-internet distance learning classes. Each of these dyads of a western tradition of higher education contrasted with a non-western or resistance tradition of higher education has left artifacts and practices that have been able to escape intentional destruction or cultural appropriation into current western hegemonies. By standing outside the constraints and politics of corporate narratives, these artifacts can point the way toward reviving educational systems based on techniques and technologies that can address the systematic problems with higher education. This study of media, sociology, education, and history seeks to suggest workable practices for a post-COVID world, that resists hegemonic practices and corporatization of education and addresses new challenges in the future.

UDC Faculty Senate
September 8, 2022
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