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Call for papers

International colloquium "Printernet : comparing printing and the Internet", Tel Aviv University, on June 6, 2010.

Organisation : Profs. Miriam Eliav-Feldon and Ami Ayalon (School of History, TAU), Prof. Jerome Bourdon and Dr. Eli Dresner (Communication, TAU).
Printing and the Internet are two technologies that share an essential feature : their introduction stirred a profound revolution in human communication, with far-reaching ramifications in every sphere of social and individual life. Both the invention of printing and the advent of the Internet allowed for easier access to knowledge, even to people who had hitherto depended on others for obtaining it. In this respect, the impact of both technologies was overwhelming, leaving no domain of human life unaffected : political, social, and cultural relations, religion, language, economy – were all transformed. The very categories by which we conceptualize society and the very essence of each notion were altered. Both developments also had a global effect, despite disparities in the process of their reception and assimilation by different cultures. Finally, in both cases contemporaries were aware of a major change actually occurring, not just about to occur (as has been the case with most other technological innovations).
Printing and its implications in different times and places have been studied extensively by scholars ; but most studies of the effects of the Internet have been so far based only on rather superficial analogies to the former invention.
We invite papers from scholars willing to explore the comparison and not simply to restate the obvious analogies. Comparisons specific in time and place – e.g. between blogs and early readers’ participation in newspaper writing – as well as more general, theoretical assessments of both "revolutions" in communication will be considered. We will also consider papers offering comparisons with other major changes in communication such as the advent of writing.
The colloquium will take place on Sunday, June 06, 2010, at Tel Aviv University. Scholars wishing to participate are invited to send a 500 words abstract to Prof. Jerome Bourdon, jeromeb@post.tau.ac.il, before January 30, 2010.

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