Monday, September 24, 2018

MediaTheory: Wilbur Schramm: Founder of Communication Study (W6-P6) Fa18

"Uncle Wilbur"

In his book, A History of Communication Study, Ev Rogers wrote:

"Wilbur Schramm was the founder of communication study.  If his contribution to the field could somehow be removed, there would not be a field of communication study.  It is doubtful that anyone else could have founded the field" (p. 476).

Whether we accept this fully or to a lesser degree, we still owe Schramm some respect and appreciation for his contributions.  He is a key part of our intellectual family.  The founding father?

For me personally, I have much admiration for Schramm.  Besides being a part of my intellectual family, he may be part of my actual family (haven't quite finished the genealogical research on this).  There are Schramms in my family tree.  We were born in the same small city (Marietta, Ohio).  We went to the same small college (Marietta College).  While I won't come close to accomplishing what he accomplished, I can at least say I'm part of "Uncle" Wilbur's family (if only intellectually).  And in turn, my students get to call him "Uncle" Wilbur too as they join the intellectual family tree of teacher-student-teacher-student...

Below is a timeline of  Wilbur Schramm's life and contributions to our field.*

My scribbles in the margins.  I made those scribbles when I was a Ph.D. student in Ev Rogers' History of Comm class in 1997 or 1998.


Schramm's history told from a slightly different perspective. 

This shift in perspective leads to what changes in the story?

* Source: Rogers, A History

If the timeline is not showing above for you, the Schramm timeline can be also be found at this link.

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