Alex Longworth-Dunbar (CHSTM) ‘Increasing a Hundred-Fold the Distresses of Humanity’: A History of Negative Representations of the Telegraph, 1837-1914'
|Dates:||19 February 2019|
|Times:||13:00 - 14:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Adults, Current University students|
‘Increasing a Hundred-Fold the Distresses of Humanity’: A History of Negative Representations of the Telegraph, 1837-1914
In light of a widely identified turn towards a negative discourse surrounding new communications technologies, there has emerged an apparent value in comparative analyses of the negative discourses that surrounded older communications technologies. For such an analysis the telegraph, as the first widespread electronic communications medium, presents itself as a valuable object of research. In spite of this, negative representations of the telegraph have so far received no sustained scholarly attention. In response, this thesis presents a history of negative representations of the telegraph in Britain and America during the period of its predominance in the late nineteenth century.
This thesis contends that strong resonances between the negative representations of these different technologies indicate the lack of novelty of many contemporary criticisms of new communications technologies, suggesting both the need for their highly critical evaluation, and the value of further comparative historical analyses of negative representations of communications technologies.
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