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slide2
   But of all other stupendous inventions, what sublimity of mind must have been his who conceived how to communicate his most secret thoughts to any other person, though very far distant either in time or place?  And with no greater difficulty than the various arrangement of two dozen little signs upon paper?  Let this be the seal of all the admirable inventions of man.

Galileo

slide3

Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.

                                        Sophocles

slide6

Harold Innis

  • The Bias of Communication (1951)
slide9

Stele of Hammurabi,

circa 1780 BC

hammurabi 1728 1686 bc
Hammurabi (1728-1686 BC)
  • Uniform legal code
  • Standardization of written symbols, calendars, weights and measures
  • Enhances scale/scope of political authority
  • The communication/transportation nexus
the problem with parchment
The Problem with Parchment
  • “Monopolies of knowledge” (Innis)
  • Transition from papyrus to parchment
slide21

 200 BCE: earliest evidence of papermaking in China

105 CE: Cai Lun makes paper from bark, hemp, silk, fishnets

610 CE: Paper spreads to Japan

751 CE: Paper spreads to Middle East

1120 CE: Early European paper mill in Xativa, Spain

the emergence of print
The Emergence of Print
  • What did the pre-print landscape of Europe look like?
  • How did people get information?
the pre print landscape
The Pre-Print Landscape
  • Manuscripts
    • Literacy, parchment confined to church, monasteries
  • Letters (epistolary networks)
  • Postal services
  • Ballads
  • Bells
printing changes the scene
Printing Changes the Scene
  • Johannes Gutenberg (1439)
  • Lowered costs, increased speed
  • Contributed to religious schism of Reformation
  • Threatened political authority
slide26
But…
  • Still capital intensive
  • Problems of production, marketing
  • Literacy
  • Poor transportation
  • Censorship
limits
Limits
  • The Church
  • Monarchy
  • Guilds
american origins
American Origins
  • Postal service
  • Newspapers
  • Book publishing, pamphlets
  • Schools, colleges, churches – civil society
  • “The Atlantic World”