Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2017


Worldwide Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Richard Thames

Committee Member

Craig Maier

Committee Member

Janie Fritz

Committee Member

Ronald Arnett


Communication, Media Ecology, Memory, Rhetoric, Technology, Walter Ong


At the heart of media ecology is the principle that technology not only deeply influences society, but also controls most aspects of daily life. Additionally, media ecology investigates how media and communication processes profoundly affect human perception and understanding. The pervasive role that technology plays in modern life today has exacerbated the results of technology on human beings. Some of these outcomes are not desirable and may be a hindrance to the progress of our society. This dissertation takes particular interest in the multifaceted consequences that the overuse of technology imposes on our ability to fully utilize our memory.

In his life and work, The Reverend Father Walter Jackson Ong (1912-2003) recognized the vital role that rhetoric plays in human communication. In Ong’s seminal text, Orality and Literacy, he identified the significance that communicative shifts have on the way we receive information and create knowledge. Being an astute polymath, Ong’s multidisciplinary approach to communication opens avenues to the topic of technology and memory that align quite well with the media ecology tradition. Ong gives us hope of how to survive and adapt to the complex media environment that has atrophied our ability to grow and fully develop our memory in a post-electronic age.