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Histories and Futures of Publication: On news and the public sphere

Jacob Soll (History and Accounting, USC)
Textual Studies Program speaker series schedule
Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 3:30pm
Communications 120

“Beyond Habermas: News in the Secret Sphere”

This paper discusses the role of both the state and the nascent public sphere in the genesis of news and information flows in early modern Europe.  Habermas's model of the rise of a public sphere is now beginning to crumble, not only as scholars show much earlier origins of news, information flows, and public opinion, but also as the state emerges as a key player in inventing and managing news.  I will discuss the symbiosis, often odd and unexpected, between governments, the news, the Republic of Letters and political critics to show that from the beginning, states have not only managed the news, they have helped make it.

Jacob Soll is Professor of History and Accounting at the University of Southern California, a McArthur Award winner, and author of Publishing The Prince: History, Reading, and the Birth of Political Criticism (Michigan, 2005), The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Secret State Intelligence System (Michigan, 2009), and The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of
Nations (Basic Books, 2014).

Reception to follow.


Histories and Futures of Publication

An interdisciplinary speaker series in manuscript, print, and digital cultures.

Sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Textual Studies Program, UW Libraries, the Information School, Modern Language Quarterly, and the departments of Classics, Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media, English, and French & Italian. 

Updated information at:

Histories and Futures of Publication Speaker Series Poster (PDF)  


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