The Newberry Library Seminar on Technology, Politics, and Culture
Co-Sponsored by the History Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Roosevelt University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Northwestern University's School of Communications
Friday, February 17, 2006, 3:30-5:00pm
The Newberry Library
The Telephone on Main Street: Local Networks in the United States and Canada before 1900
Robert MacDougall, University of Western Ontario
How would the history of telecommunications change if we centered our attention on something as mundane as the telephone pole? This article compares the first decades of telephony in the Midwestern United States and Central Canada, arguing for a "bottom-up" history of the information age rooted in local conditions and physical space. We may imagine the telephone as an "annihilator of space," but 19th century telephony was profoundly shaped by its municipal milieu. Local politics - and the politics of localism - had a lasting impace on the development of the industry and indeed the culture and meaning of telephone use.
All papers are pre-circulated. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Ginger Shulick at email@example.com, or call 312.255.3524.
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