Last updated: September 6, 2016

Date Topic Reading Assignment
Weds., Sept. 7 Introduction to the Course
Mon., Sept. 12 Business and Economic History 101: What is the history of media and communications?
  • Starr, Creation of the Media, introduction, ch. 1
  • Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977), pp. 1-12 [Blackboard]
  • Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2008), introduction [Blackboard]
Blog (Sun.): Introduction (Required 1)
Weds., Sept. 14 Theoretical Concepts: The Public Sphere
  • Jürgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” trans. Sara Lennox and Frank Lennox, New German Critique, no. 3 (1974): 49-55
  • Robert Darnton, “What is the History of Books?” Daedalus 111, no. 3 (1982): 65-83
Mon., Sept. 19 A Communications Frontier?
  • Katherine Grandjean, American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), ch. 2 [Blackboard]
  • Alejandra Dubcovsky, Informed Power: Communication in the Early American South (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016), ch. 4 [Blackboard]
Blog (Sun.): Definitions (Required 2)
Weds., Sept. 21 Printing in Colonial America Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 2
Mon., Sept. 26 The Newspaper in Early America Franklin, Autobiography, parts 1-7 (stop at letter from Benjamin Vaughan) Blog (Sun.): Reaction to Franklin (Option 1)
Weds., Sept. 28 A Revolution for Press Freedom? Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 3 Bring laptop to class
Mon., Oct. 3 A Communications Infrastructure for the United States Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 4 Blog (Sun.): Early American Newspapers (Required 3)
Weds., Oct. 5 Publishing in the United States Hannah Foster, The Coquette, vii-xx, 6-46
Mon., Oct. 10 Columbus Day – No class meeting
Weds., Oct. 12 The Early American Novel Hannah Foster, The Coquette, 47-169 Blog (Tues.): Reaction to The Coquette (Option 2)
Mon., Oct. 17 Going Postal Henkin, The Postal Age, 1-90 Blog (Sun.): Reaction to Henkin (Option 3)
Weds., Oct. 19 Field Trip: American Antiquarian Society [tentative] TBD
Mon., Oct. 24 Living in a Postal Culture Henkin, The Postal Age, 93-175 Blog (Sun.): AAS Visit (Required 4)
Weds., Oct. 26 Managing the System
  • Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 6
  • Robert MacDougall, “Long Lines: AT&T’s Long-Distance Network as an Organizational and Political Strategy,” The Business History Review 80, no. 2 (2006): 297-327
Mon., Oct. 31 Regulating a Communications Society
  • Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 7
  • Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, “Victoria Woodhull, Anthony Comstock, and Conflict over Sex in the United States in the 1870s,” Journal of American History 87, no. 2 (2000): 403-34
Blog (Sun.): Mid-semester reflection (Option 4)
Weds., Nov. 2 Wartime Propaganda and Censorship
  • Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 8
  • Kristin L. Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998), Ch. 2 [Blackboard]
Mon., Nov. 7 The Motion Picture Industry
  • Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 9
  • Stephen Vaughn, “Morality and Entertainment: The Origins of the Motion Picture Production Code,” Journal of American History 77, no. 1 (1990): 39-65
Blog (Sun.): Reaction to Hoganson (Option 5)
Weds., Nov. 9 Film: Citizen Kane (1941)
Mon., Nov. 14 Radio and American Culture
  • Kate Lacey, “Radio in the Great Depression: Promotional Culture, Public Service, and Propaganda,” in Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Radio, ed. Michele Hilmes and Jason Loviglio (New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 21-40 [Blackboard]
  • Bruce Lenthall, “Critical Reception: Public Intellectuals Decry Depression-Era Radio, Mass Culture, and Modern America,” in Radio Reader, pp. 41-62 [Blackboard]
Blog (Sun.): Citizen Kane Comments Thread (Required 5)
Weds., Nov. 16 Morals in the Media
  • Anthony Comstock, Traps for the Young, 3rd ed. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883), Preface, Chs. 2, 3, 4, 8 [Google Books]
  • Henry James Forman, Our Movie Made Children (New York: 1935), Chs. 10-11 [Blackboard]
  • In class: Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 [Blackboard]
Mon., Nov. 21 Organizing Communication
  • Starr, Creation of the Media, chs. 10-11
  • In class: Communications Act of 1934 (excerpt)
Blog (Sun.): Morality in the Media (Option 6)
Weds., Nov. 23 Broadcast Television 2-3 episodes of early television, TBA
Mon., Nov. 28 The Emerging Dominance of Television James L. Baughman, “Nice Guys Last Fifteen Seasons: Jack Benny on Television, 1950-1965,” Film & History 30, no. 2 (2000): 29-40.
Weds., Nov. 30 Is the Medium the Message? Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message,” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (London: Routledge, 1975), ch. 1. [Blackboard] Blog (Sun.): Reaction to McLuhan (Option 7)
Mon., Dec. 5 Deregulation in Communications
  • Towards Postal Excellence: The Report of the President’s Commission on Postal Organization (1968), 1-10. [Blackboard]
  • Telecommunications Act of 1996 (excerpt) [Blackboard]
  • In class: New York Times, 1981-1984 coverage of Ma Bell antitrust suit
Weds., Dec. 7 A Communications Infrastructure for the United States? “Open Internet,” Federal Communications Commission

  • Read Summary and browse links on right side of page
Book Review due via dropitto.me
Mon., Dec. 12 Thinking About Communication in Historical Perspective
Weds., Dec. 14 Conclusion
%d bloggers like this: