We met in graduate school at Brown University circa 1995. Mark was writing about early Hollywood. John was writing about British modernism. We started reading each other’s drafts and never stopped.
In 2008, while attending a conference in Long Beach, we thought it might be fun to write together about “the humanities” from a media studies perspective. In 2010, we delivered our first co-authored paper, “How Hollywood Invented the English Novel,” at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference.
In May of 2012 we began blogging our research in progress at humanitiesafterhollyood.org. By 2014 we had discovered that our interest extended beyond “the humanities” to encompass the US research university and the distinctive system of postsecondary education it anchors.
Our collaboration produced a book, Media U: How the Need to Win Audiences Has Shaped Higher Education (Columbia University Press, 2018), which demonstrates how how universities have sought to inform publics and convince them of higher education’s value to American society. We trace over one hundred years of media history, from the rise of football and Great Books programs in the early twentieth century through a midcentury communications complex linking big science, New Criticism, and design, from the co-option of 1960s student activist media through the early-twenty-first-century reception of MOOCs and the latest promises of technological disruption.
This blog extends arguments and ideas elaborated in the book.
We do other work as well.
John is Professor and Chair of English at the University of California, Davis. He is an American Council on Education Fellow for 2018-19. He serves as Associate Editor at Novel: A Forum on Fiction had has authored two books from Cambridge University Press as well as numerous articles on contemporary, postcolonial, and modernist novels.
Mark is Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of two books on early Hollywood as well as numerous articles and has recently coedited Rediscovering US Newsfilm: Cinema, Television, and the Archive (2018).