News Networks in Venice, 7-9 March 2013
News Networks is approaching its fifth workshop, to be held at the Universita Ca’ Foscari in Venice in six weeks time. This event will be our last research workshop before the project conference, News and the Shape of Europe 1500-1750 (to be held at Queen Mary, University of London this summer from 26-28 July – deadline for abstracts is the 28th of February, so get submitting!). Confirmed speakers at this event include the project director, Joad Raymond (QMUL), as well as Mario Infelise (our host on this occasion), Lodovica Braida (University of Milan), Sheila Barker (Medici Archive Project), Laura Carnelos, Chiara Palazzo, and Massimo Petta.
The meeting will have a strong regional focus; as our previous two meetings have examined the Germanies and the Iberian peninsula, this event will focus on Italy, including papers on Venetian, Roman and Florentine networks of news-gathering and distribution. The other strand of the workshop will be a comparative focus on the role of censorship and state control in the production and circulation of news throughout Europe, from the self-regulation of the Stationer’s Company in London to the intensive state interference in France (which practically established the newspaper as an organ of state, and from which even literary journalism was not immune – see last week’s blog on the Journal des Sçavans.) The various modes and intensities of censorship, the criteria according to which they were applied, and the strategies used for getting around them are of critical importance to understanding the structure and function of early modern news networks. Who had the task of censoring the news? What kinds of news were especially prone to censorship? And what were its aims (that is, was it principally concerned to suppress news at home, or abroad?) The Italian focus of the meeting is particularly apposite for these questions, at once because of the continuing importance of the manuscript newsletter in Italy, the many and competing jurisdictions on the peninsula, and the prominence given to news from Rome and Venice in news in other European languages. More news of the event will be posted here in due course; and suggestions for further topics and themes for discussion are of course always welcome!