Early Modern News Networks in Paris, May 2012

News Networks in Early Modern Europe will have its second meeting in Paris from the 9th to the 11th of May.  In addition to the network’s core membership, confirmed participants so far include Professor Stéphane Haffemayer (Université de Caen and the Centre de Recherche d’Histoire Quantitative), Dr Johann Petitjean (Ecole Française de Rome) and Marion Brétéché (Paris IV-Sorbonne, and a member of the Groupe de Recherches Interdisciplinaires sur l’Histoire du Littéraire – GRIHL).

Discussions and presentations at the Antwerp workshop in November focussed on the validity of prevailing models for describing the spread and regulation of European news.   Were either the putative efficacy of censorship in southern Europe, or the relative freedom of the press enjoyed in the Protestant north, quite what they have been supposed to be? Carmen Espejo tackled this question in its European aspects, while Paul Arblaster examined it through the varieties of forms and uses of news, its intersection with commercial practices, the regulation of trade routes, and local politics and inter-city relations in the Spanish Netherlands.  Other questions touched on, in attempting to address issues of how to define early modern news, included the various national and cultural origins of news (as proclamations, commercial information, espionage, entertainment, and propaganda); the varieties of use to which news was put; the social construction of those uses;  and what happens to news once it has ceased to be new; and how foreign news was reported across national borders.

Picking up from these questions, the Paris workshop will be organised around the theme of how news travelled across linguistic, confessional, geographical and geopolitical boundaries.  As well as considering the modes of transmission and the networks that made these movements possible, we will examine the transformations news underwent as it was translated and appropriated into other contexts; the origins and developing uses of the terminologies of early modern news and journalism in the project’s various languages; the social differences between types of news media; and the case of Paris as an instance of an early modern entrepôt, in which news was produced, printed, transmitted onwards, controlled and restricted.   Watch this space for more news of what promises to be a fascinating event – and please get in touch if you have any queries or suggestions for us!


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