Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 7½ x 10⅜
978-1-4422-4338-5 • Hardback • December 2014 • $96.00 • (£74.00)
978-1-4422-4339-2 • eBook • December 2014 • $91.00 • (£70.00)
William J. Buxton is professor of communication studies at Concordia University in Montreal; his numerous publications include Talcott Parsons and the Capitalist Nation-State, Harold Innis in the New Century, and Harold Innis and the North. Michael R. Cheney is professor of communication and associate professor of economics at the University of Illinois Springfield. He served as inaugural editor for the Journal of Media Sociology and publishes on politics, culture, and technology. Paul Heyer is professor of communication studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. His publications include Communication and History, Titanic Century, and Harold Innis.
Foreword by John Durham Peters
Introduction by William J. Buxton, Michael R. Cheney, and Paul Heyer
1—The Coming of Paper
2—Printing in the 15th Century
3—Printing in the 16th Century
About the Editors
This is a very lightly edited version of three chapters of Harold Innis's vast, unpublished, fact-packed manuscript on the history of communications. Innis (1894–1952) was a major 20th-century economic historian, known for his 'staple theory' of Canadian economic development. Fewer people know that in the last decade of his life, he pursued a study of the history of the pulp-and-paper industry that involved researching the history of humankind's communication activities back to ancient times. Materials (paper), technologies (printing), and the effects of communication (advertising) on society are what interested him. Presented here are the 'Coming of Paper' and chapters on 15th- and 16th-century printing—work the editors thought would interest today's scholars of book history. The content represents material that is not well reflected in Innis's Empire and Communications (1950), The Bias of Communication (1951), and Changing Concepts of Time (1952). The editors are professors of communication studies and economics in the US and Canada. Their added notes cover some of the work done since 1952 on the history of printed communications that is not reflected here. . . .Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.
— Choice Reviews
Here at last,Harold Innis's History of Communicationis a masterful rendering of many of the unpublished writings by the man who inspired Marshall McLuhan and taught us to look at the material and organizational infrastructure of communication media as foundational to manners of thought and the natures of civilizations. Compiled and edited by three of Canada's foremost communications historians, Buxton, Cheney and Heyer have pulled together some exciting, mind-morphing stuff!
— Rowland Lorimer, Simon Fraser University
Scholars and students of communication owe Buxton, Cheney, and Heyer an enormous debt. Their rigorous editing of previously unpublished chapters from Innis’s history of communications brings to the public extraordinary examples of his brilliant research and his groundbreaking conceptualization of communication. It is mandatory reading, essential as we address the dominance of digital communication in the twenty-first century.
— Robert W. McChesney, author, Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century: Media, Politics, and the Struggle
We are fortunate to finally be able to read core chapters from Harold Innis' legendary unpublished history of communication thanks to the work of Buxton, Cheney, and Heyer. Ranging widely across time and space, Innis presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of the various surfaces, writing systems, and practices that have shaped human communication. Framed by the authors' excellent introduction, this book offers a fascinating new perspective on the linkages between material and cultural history that Innis was making in his later work.
— Michael Stamm, Michigan State University
Considers Asian as well as European developments in communications.
Situates the manuscript in relation to Innis’s major treatise on the history of media – Empire and Communications.
Assesses the industrial and labor context of early printing.
Explores the role of the church and the state in early modern Europe.
Makes widely accessible—for the first time—the three core chapters from Innis’s unpublished History of Communications manuscript.
Gives attention not only to the material aspects of printing—from the development of paper and ink to typemaking and typesetting—but also to the relationships between printing and shifting monopolies of knowledge and power over time.
Relevant for scholars in the disciplines of history, media and communication, and sociology.