CFP: Shortage of Paper and its Impact on Print in the Pre-Industrial Era: Historical Parallels with the Spectrum Scarcity Debate
Since the 1920s, regulatory policies of most Western societies have evolved from the premise that “spectrum scarcity” makes broadcast communication diametrically different from print technologies. Yet, up until its mass production in the industrial mills of the late ninetieth century, paper used to be a scarce commodity itself. In the first four centuries after Gutenberg’s invention, it was produced mainly from old rags and manufactured in limited quantities. Consequently, the genuinely occurring, but also perceived or at some point even artificially created shortage of paper shaped the print period in a manner that has many historical parallels with limitations peculiar to the electronic spectrum. This panel suggests that the endemic shortage of paper in the early period of print could be indeed interpreted as the precursor of the “spectrum scarcity” debate.
We would like to invite historians or communication historians to join a panel proposal for the upcoming International Communication Association (ICA) 2013 conference in London (June 17-21). The deadline for proposals is November 1, 2012.
Potential topics of papers may include - but are not limited – the following:
- the regulation of paper production in the early period of print: 15th-17th century (we already have a proposal on regulatory policies of rag sales and paper production in Renaissance Italy);
- the 17th-18th century early modern newspaper and indirect political censorship (e.g., series of Stamp Acts by which the British Crown indirectly attempted to regulate print at home and in its colonies / In the 1830s, during his visit in the United State, Scottish journalist Thomas Hamilton defended the tax as an important regulatory measure: “Remove the stamp duty, and the consequence will inevitably be, that there will be two sets of newspapers, one for the rich and educated, the other for the poor and ignorant”);
- the challenges for paper production in the early 19th century mass circulation era (e.g., the 1830s Penny Press);
- the press barons of the late 19th century and the industrial mass production of paper (we already have a paper proposal on McCormick’s Chicago Tribune newspaper family and its own ways to secure the supplies of paper).
If you would like to join the panel, please send your paper proposal ASAP to:
Juraj Kittler – St. Lawrence University: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Stamm – Michigan State University: email@example.com
St. Lawrence Unversity
PCA and English Departments
23 Romoda Dr.
Canton, NY - 13617 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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