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315 lecture notes.docx

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Communication Studies
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Martin Dowding

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CS315 Week 2 – January 13, 2014 - Burke video (on reserve at library) Printing Press - Eisenstein’s Printing Press as an Agent of Change: o Studies were viewed as by and for disparate groups: typographers, librarians and bibliographers, literary scholars, economists, social historians. - Eisentsteins refers favourably to French and British scholars (Steinberg) - 500 years of Printing (Steinberg) o Was most influential, now out of date…but…’populist’ - The history of printing is an integral part of the general history of civilization - Steinberg’s “best” sentence for Eisenstein - Burke says everything changed, socially, culturally, economically, in Western religion – because of the advent of the press. - Burke provides a broad acknowledgement of the “revolution” Eisenstein writes about - But she was unhappy about how limited the acknowledgement was elsewhere - The press IS wonderful… but why? - Eisenstein cites Steinberg: o “Neither political, constitutional, ecclesiastical, and economic events, nor sociological, philosophical, and literary movements can be fully understood without taking into account the influence the printing press…(continue once posted on MLS) - Eisenstein points out that our mental habits changed because of the press (McLuhan). - Eisenstein says, while we have so much new text – we can’t tell how human behavior has changed. - Standardization: laws, language, production… but how does access (overload) affect human behavior? - She left out some enquiries about human behavior… - > Behavior: Before mass printing, the illiterate were read to – out loud, the literate read out loud, to themselves… but later, silently - Before mass printing people often had to guess when they were born, or what they owned – recall the inheritance’s scene in Printing Transforms Knowledge: but they had different ways of remembering. - > Difficulty for Eisenstein: o We can’t assess printing without knowing what writing was before the press i.e. in ‘scribal culture’. - Eisenstein muses that: we can only conjecture about pre-literate life…but she has a Western-oriented bias; - We observe surviving non-literate societies as sociologists, anthropologists, and communication studies scholars (e.g. non-numerate Brazilian tribe; Rom) - Eisenstein and scarcity of MSS: - > Few other MSS to compare with as copying going on - Burke makes the same point when he refers to perpetuation of errors in scriptoria – due to an original error - Why so few MSS? Who read? How MSS created? What methods? - Press: o Little standardization (hugely important) o When did it happen? By what means? o How many copies made in the scriptoria? o Titles problematic? o Indexes? o Tables of contents? (recall burke’s film) - Print as commodity (Commodities? What sells? Why) - Capitalist press owner would need to know how many copies printed, sold, how much paper, ink used – how many hours employees worked - Not the church’s motto “laborare est orare” – “to work is to worship.” But an interesting irony arose… o Abbot of Spondheim, devoted to o Scriptoria: where the monks did their writing, scribes and velum (velum?) is animal skin shaved off animal hair and layer of skin. o Printed a book, on paper o Praise of Scribes – double meaning?  1) Working in the Scriptorium was considered praise – “laborare est orare” – “to work is to worship”  2) Abbot was praising work of scribes - Why did Abbot choose paper over velum? o Wanted to spread word and news fast - Other monks took advantage of print as well…why? Sign of change in human behavior. Speed and breadth of distribution – helped and challenged religion. - But what did the press allow the Church to create and accelerate? And what was the purpose? (Burke’s film) - Important to consider why Marshall McLuhan appears in Eisenstein’s book - In The Gutenberg Galaxy McLuhan creates an “anti-text” - Insists, like new digital media, there may not have to be a “beginning” or an “end” in text – jump in anywhere? - With computers, we jump in anywhere; we don’t start at the beginning. - In lots of McLuhan’s work he asked: o What is text? o What is a book? o What are the “new media”? o What will they do to us? We ask this now because…? o Issues Eisenstein saw as flaws in analysis of the press - Can we abandon all hard-copy knowledge? - Whose responsibility is it to choose what is recorded digitally? - What knowledge will be left behind? - Ethical questions of huge proportion - Speaking of ethics… - > Did secular, non-religious, print lead to very bad literature, unethical activities? - Harlequin Romance - News of the world, pornography, “non” literature? - Is the printing press the greatest commodity ever invented - Early printers = pioneers in manufacturing and marketing - Can we say that ab
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