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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Spring 2007

HIS 306N • Hist of Media: Print-Internet

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39920 F


Course Description

What were the causes and consequences of the printing revolution? What do later developments in communications media have in common with the advent of print, and how are they different? What political, social, and economic factors affect media production and reception, and how do media affect them in turn? What does pornography have to do with the French Revolution?

This course is devoted to answering all of these questions, and several others. Starting with the invention of printing in Europe in the fifteenth century, we will examine its rapid spread throughout the continent, how it shaped and was shaped by oral and popular cultures, its effects on the Protestant Reformation, and the rise of the public sphere. The issues that arise in the history of printing-authorship, censorship, propaganda, and globalization, among others-will then inform our investigation of radio, cinema, television, and the internet in the latter section of the course. We will inquire into the effects of gender, ethnicity, and class on the production, distribution, and reception of mediated texts; the rise of the mass media; and the role of the state, society, and other socioeconomic actors in determining what mediated texts can be produced and who is allowed access to them.

Grading Policy

Midterm: 30% One short paper (<8pp): 15% Final (comprehensive): 45% Class participation: 10%


Asa Briggs and Peter Burke, A Social History of the Media Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Bestsellers of Pre-Revolutionary France Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture Neal Stephenson, Mother Earth Mother Board, in Wired, December 1996 (available online) A course packet of additional readings (available at neighborhood copy store)


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