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History and Theory

Amateurdom and Its Discontents

History and Theory
14 Mar, 2013

Amateurdom and Its Discontents

"Amateurdom" and "fandom" were realms of amateur cultural production, the former self-articulated around 1870 and the latter around 1930. Could these "-doms" offer a resource for thinking about today's amateur cultural production? What would, what should a history of amateurs look like?

This talk represents the culmination of an extended study tentatively entitled The Scriptural Economy: A Media History of Documents. It's a book that seeks to render selective episodes from the history of the reproducibility of writing, starting with nineteenth-century commercial printing and ending with the PDF file.

Lisa Gitelman is a media historian whose research concerns American book history, techniques of inscription, and the new media of yesterday and today. She is particularly concerned with tracing the patterns according to which new media become meaningful within and against the contexts of older media. Her most recent book is entitled Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture and was published by the MIT Press in 2006. Current projects include a monograph, "The Scriptural Economy: A Media History of Documents," and an edited collection,"'Raw Data' Is an Oxymoron." She holds a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University and is a former editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University. Lisa Gitelman is currently Professor of English and of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Department of Rhetoric.

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