Shady Figures and Shifting Grounds for Re/Truthing: Channeling McLuhan’s Posthuman


  • Shannon Stevens University of Victoria, BC, Canada
  • Richard Wainwright University of Victoria, BC, Canada


Posthumanism, McLuhan, figure/ground analysis, curriculum, [onto]Riffology, post-inquiry, fake news, Twitter


A dramatic shift in ground across the American political and social landscape is taking place, the kind that happens when a figure such as Trump conducts himself in the media, including by Twitter. In describing approaches to navigating a changing world through media, Marshall McLuhan employed the concept of figure/ground to evaluate media and their effects: a pursuit in honing perceptions. In curriculum theory, we employ figure/ground analysis to better recognize when a traditionally accepted humanist lens as figure has largely precluded recognition of a posthuman grounding that now thoroughly structures the conditions of the developed world’s existence (Sharon, 2014). How do we as educators address McLuhan’s prescient concerns over networked technologies and shifting media brought about by the electric age and now deployed by the likes of Trump, his administration, network news, and a disenfranchised American populace?