New Media

University of California, Berkeley


The Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM) is a UC Berkeley initiative that supports research and teaching collaborations to better understand innovations in media. Our mission is to critically analyze and help shape innovations in new media from cross-disciplinary and global perspectives that emphasize the humanities and public interests. Since such innovations have technical, social, political, and aesthetic qualities, a full understanding of their transformative powers requires collaborative analyses.

Led by a highly interdisciplinary community of roughly 120 affiliated faculty, advisors, and scholars from 35 UC Berkeley departments, BCNM offers courses, degrees, certificates, research, and public programs about media that bring together inquiries based in Architecture, Philosophy, Film Studies, Art History, Art Practice, Performance Studies, Music, Engineering, Information, Journalism, and Law. A collaboration hub for both textual and material discourse, BCNM connects students and faculty with projects at the Berkeley Art Museum, the University Library, and many off-campus venues. BCNM is based in the College of Engineering.

All media (Latin for middle) facilitate transformation: by definition, media are transformative. From the stone tablet to the printing press to the Internet, media have become increasingly reconfigurable. The value of a medium is often related to its capacity for reconfiguration. To claim a medium as "new" is to posit a meaningful improvement over prior media. Thus, new media are highly reconfigurable and doubly transformative: they achieve a transformation of prior modes of transformation.

New media often produce new experiences, new behaviors, and new insights; yet new media remain deeply rooted in powerful aesthetic, cultural, and political forces. As media transform, they often distort. Sophocles observed, "Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse." BCNM actively engages scholars who critically examine the opportunities and risks associated with new media and who consider how new media can constructively benefit education, political engagement, privacy, and aesthetic experience.

BCNM catalyzes research, educates future leaders, and facilitates public discourse through courses, lectures, symposia, and special events. BCNM has established cross-disciplinary faculty positions and a special program for PhD students. BCNM expands traditional academic modes of scholarship with support for unorthodox artworks, analysis, designs, and experiments.

Undergraduate Program

The Berkeley Center for New Media offers a certificate program for undergraduate students at UC Berkeley. The certificate does not appear on a student's transcript but reflects the expertise in new media innovation that a student acquires in addition to their core major. The program includes courses on innovation, a service-learning program, and a research program, in which students work together with graduate students and faculty on joint inquiries ranging from hardware design to human impact.

Graduate Programs

New Media: Designated Emphasis (DE), Graduate Certificate

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New Media

Contact Information

Center for New Media

426 Sutardja Dai Hall

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Tom McEnaney (Comparative Literature & Spanish & Portuguese)

Head Graduate Advisor

Alex Saum-Pascual (Spanish & Portuguese)

Associate Director & Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Lara Wolfe

Events Coordinator & Office Manager

Raphael Cohen

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