Projecting Power Overseas: The 1863 Paris Postal Conference, the American Civil War, and the Creation of International Communications Networks
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Presented by the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Section
The failure of the Atlantic cable in 1858 raises a counterfactual question about international communications that has long intrigued nineteenth-century historians. What difference, if any, would it have made had the Great Britain and the United States been linked by telegraph during the American Civil War? This question is of course unanswerable. Yet it casts into relief a related question that can be approached historically. How did the medium of communications—word-of-mouth, mail, telegraph—shape public life in the mid-nineteenth century?
This meeting is free, but registration is required.
Richard R. John, PhD
School of Journalism, Columbia University
Richard R. John is a professor in the PhD program in communications at the Columbia School of Journalism, where he teaches courses on business, technology, communications, and political development. His many publications include Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010) and Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse (Harvard University Press, 1995; paperback, 1998).