HSTY 360 Course Schedule

Except as otherwise noted, readings in academic journals should be available through the Whittemore Library. If you are having difficulty locating a particular reading, please contact Prof. Adelman.

Last updated: September 3, 2019

Date Topic Reading Assignment
Thurs., Sept. 5 Introduction to the Course
Tues., Sept. 10 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
  • Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2008), introduction
Blog 1 (required)
Thurs., Sept. 12 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
Tues., Sept. 17 A Communications Frontier?
  • Katherine Grandjean, American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), ch. 2
  • Alejandra Dubcovsky, Informed Power: Communication in the Early American South (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016), ch. 4
Blog 2 (required)
Thurs., Sept. 19 Printing in Colonial America

(Note: no in-person meeting)

Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 2 Blog 3 (required)
Tues., Sept. 24 The Newspaper in Early America Franklin, Autobiography, parts 1-7 (stop at letter from Benjamin Vaughan)
Thurs., Sept. 26 A Revolution for Press Freedom? Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 3 Blog 4 (optional)
Tues., Oct. 1 A Communications Infrastructure for the United States Starr, Creation of the Media, ch. 4
Thurs., Oct. 3 Publishing in the United States Hannah Foster, The Coquette, vii-xx, 6-46
Tues., Oct. 8 Researching Newspapers Review Chronicling America website
Thurs., Oct. 10 The Early American Novel Hannah Foster, The Coquette, 47-169 Blog 5 (optional)
Tues., Oct. 15 Project Research
Thurs., Oct. 17 Publishing and Circulating Reform David Walker, Appeal, in Four Articles; Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America, Written in Boston, State of Massachusetts, September 28, 1829 Blog 6 (optional)
Tues., Oct. 22 Project Research
Thurs., Oct. 24 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
Digital project proposal due
Tues., Oct. 29 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
Thurs., Oct. 31 Reporting on Lynching Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors (1892) Blog 7 (optional)
Tues., Nov. 5 Project Research
Thurs., Nov. 7 Field trip: American Antiquarian Society Meet at 8:15 am outside May Hall for bus ride to Worcester
Tues., Nov. 12 Project Research Blog 8 (required)
Thurs., Nov. 14 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
Tues., Nov. 19 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
  • Bruce Lenthall, “Critical Reception: Public Intellectuals Decry Depression-Era Radio, Mass Culture, and Modern America,” in Radio Reader, pp. 41-62
Thurs., Nov. 21 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 9 (optional)
Tues., Nov. 26 Organizing Communication
  • Starr, Creation of the Media, chs. 10-11
  • In class: Communications Act of 1934 (excerpt)
Thurs., Nov. 28 THANKSGIVING
Tues., Dec. 3 Broadcast Television Allison Perlman, Public Interests, excerpt
Thurs., Dec. 5 Deregulation in Communications
  • Towards Postal Excellence: The Report of the President’s Commission on Postal Organization (1968), 1-10.
  • Telecommunications Act of 1996 (excerpt)
  • In class: New York Times, 1981-1984 coverage of Ma Bell antitrust suit
Digital project due
Tues., Dec. 10 Digital Project Open House
  • In-class: Presentations/Open House
Thurs., Dec. 12 Thinking About Communication in Historical Perspective

Workshop Modules