Media Ecology Summit at Saint Mary's Examined Technology, Spirituality, Ecology Concerns

Saint Mary's served as the host for the prestigious Media Ecology Association Convention June 22-25, 2017. During the international summit, more than 150 scholars and practitioners, from 27 countries, visited Saint Mary's campus to deliver academic papers and participate in panel discussions examining a variety of topics, including the proliferation of fake news in the digital environment, cyberspace and human relationships, educating citizens in an online world, evolving creative approaches in Brazilian Telenovelas, and the commodification of Hip-Hop culture.

Media Ecology is a communication discipline founded upon the media studies framework developed by two of the 20th century's leading public intellectuals, Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman. Media ecology includes the study of media environments, and how technology, and methods of communications impact and influence society. The MEA’s 18th annual convention was held at Saint Mary’s College, 1928 St. Mary’s Road, Moraga, Calif. 94575.

The summit featured a lineup of renowned speakers exploring the convention’s theme of Technology, Spirituality and Ecology. Keynote speakers included award-winning and internationally known author Eric McLuhan, UC Berkeley Professor of Cultural Biology and Linguistics Terrence Deacon, cartoonist and comics theorist Scott McCloud, author and Wilfrid Laurier University Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies Paul Heyer, and University of Toronto Emeritus Professor of Physics, and longtime collaborator with the late Marshall McLuhan, Robert K. Logan. In honor of his deeply held Catholic faith, and in support of the College’s faith mission, the conference also featured a special Mass to honor Marshall McLuhan.

"The purpose of the conference is to examine the relationship of media to the deepest philosophical awareness of who we are as human beings," said Saint Mary’s Communication Professor and conference chair Ed Tywoniak. "The Bay Area really is the confluence of much of the spiritual essence of who we are as a nation, from the self-help counterculture movement of Haight Ashbury in the 1960s, to the beginning of the technological revolution right here in Silicon Valley. San Francisco and the Bay Area are still very much in the forefront of the convergence of these kinds of questions of technology and humanity."

The conference reflected Saint Mary’s ongoing commitment to the academic discipline of communications and coincides with several new initiatives by the College, including the launch of a digital studies minor and a new center for the study of media ecology. Scheduled to open in spring 2018, the center will support research on understanding digital culture, media environments, and publish and promote scholarly articles and journals, including an anthology of the summit’s most recognized papers.

Founded in 2000, the MEA convention has been held at many prestigious U.S. academic institutions including Boston College, Manhattan College, New York University, Santa Clara University, University of Maine; and internationally in Canada, Mexico, and Italy.

The 18th annual Media Ecology Association Convention was a presentation of Saint Mary’s Department of Communication and was sponsored by the Roy E. and Patricia Disney Forum. For more information about the conference, visit or contact Communication Professor Ed Tywoniak at or (925) 631-4718.


Michael McAlpin
Office of College Communications
Asst. Vice Provost, Director of Media Relations
(925) 631-4222 office, (925) 878-9535 cell

About SMC
The Saint Mary's College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For more than 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church's oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 4,000 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary's College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.