Handbook of Communication History

The latest volume in the ICA Handbook Series, The Handbook of Communication History, as well as the ICA interest group, Communication History formed as recently as 2007, reflects the growing attention of scholars in the field to the history of communication history and research. Edited by Peter Simonson, Janice Peck, Robert T. Craig, and John Johkson, Jr., The Handbook “addresses central ideas, social practices, and media of communication as they have developed across time, cultures, and world geographical regions. It attends to both the varieties of communication in world history and the historical investigation of those forms in communication and media studies. The Handbook editors view communication as encompassing patterns, processes, and performances of social interaction, symbolic production, material exchange, institutional formation, social praxis, and discourse. As such, the history of communication cuts across social, cultural, intellectual, political, technological, institutional, and economic history.”–publisher’s description

The title is available in Annenberg Reference at P90. H2933 2012.

Book Feature: Critical Introduction to George Gerbner

Media scholar Michael Morgan has written a critical overview of the work of his former mentor and colleague:  George Gerbner: A Critical Introduction to Media and Communication Theory (Peter Lang, 2012). 

This under-200 page textbook of sorts succinctly maps the trajectory of one of the field’s founding fathers–beginning with research from  pre-Cultural Indicators times when he developed his model for communication, looked at confession magazines not only for content patterns but institutional practices, and gathered and analyzed representations of mental illness in the media. He also  studied mass communication’s relation to education, a concern going back to his dissertation days. One can trace how his early work morphed into what would be his opus, Cultural Indicators, a sprawling “long-term, integrated, and cumulative analysis of (1) media institutions, (2) dominant message patterns, and (3) audience images and conceptions.”  No one is better situated to walk us through the evolution of this project, stopping for lessons in message system analysis, institutional process analysis, cultivation analysis, mean world syndrome, and mainstreaming, than Dr. Morgan who was there, actively so, when it all went down. The volume includes a useful 11-page bibliography. 

It was nice to see The Annenberg School’s George Gerbner Archive acknowledged; we are certainly grateful for Dr. Morgan’s donations to the Archive as well as a few corrections in documentation details which he generously sent our way in the course of his work.

Steve Jobs/Apple and IBM Bibliographies

No one produces better annotated bibliographies for our field than Christopher Sterling.  The latest Communication Booknotes Quarterly, which he edits, features two bibliographies, the lead CBQ Review Essays, Steve Jobs and Apple Computers, and IBM’s First Century. While the recent Walter Isaacson biography will surely be the definitive one for a while, Sterling rounds up many other titles on Steve Jobs, Apple Computers, and other players at Apple.  An even longer annotated list of books on IBM follows–a 14-page bibliography divided into History, Critiques and Surveys, Business Management, Biography, and Products: Hardware and Software.


American Radio Research Guide

There’s a new entry on the Penn Libraries large menu of research guides, American Radio History Research Guide, which features the following categories: Sources for Streaming Radio Programs, American Radio Resources for Presidential and Political Topics, American Radio Music and Commercials Resources, American Radio Megasets on DVD, Primary Resources in American Radio, General Reference Works and American Radio E-Resources, and Archival Resources for American Radio.

If radio is your thing, this is a great little site to bookmark. Kudos to librarian colleagues Nick Okrent and Laureen Cantwell for putting this together for history and media history students alike.

Introducing the George Gerbner Archive

The Annenberg Library is pleased to announce the opening of the George Gerbner Archive to communications students and researchers at Penn and around the world. George Gerbner was the second dean of The Annenberg School for Communication from 1964-1989 and one of the pioneering founders of the field of Communication as a scholarly pursuit. As Joseph Turow, the Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication, writing for Americana in 2006 explains:

[George]Gerbner believed it was crucial to understand the social impact of these mass-produced daydreams [television fiction] because they likely influenced the hierarchy of values as they developed in our minds, particularly in the minds of young people. The key was not to dwell on the positive or negative aspects of individual television shows, movies or songs. Instead, Gerbner insisted, because popular culture is mass-produced, it should be analyzed as a system of industrially patterned, rather than idiosyncratic or artistic, messages. With the “message system” as a central concept, communication research should pursue three fundamental goals: explore the forces that shape the pattern of messages; examine the overall nature of those message patterns; and understand the social roles or functions that those patterns play in society.
— Industrial Folklore George Gerbner’s (Tele)Vision, Americana, Summer 2006

The George Gerbner Archive consists of personal correspondence, research and administrative materials, reports, publications, news clippings, photographs, and memorabilia related to George Gerbner (1916-2006) and his work as a world-renowned media scholar and dean of the Annenberg School. The collection is rich in material concerning the Cultural Indicators Project, Gerbner’s pioneering analysis of television violence and cultivation theory, and the Cultural Environment Movement, a media advocacy organization founded by Gerbner in 1991.

The collection was donated to the Annenberg School in 2006 by Gerbner’s sons, John and Thomas. The collection reflects Gerbner’s prodigious research agenda and leadership as a scholar, administrator, and activist over a period of four decades. The collection consists of the following series: Biography, Cultural Indicators Project, Cultural Environmental Movement, Publications, Correspondence, Instructional Materials, Clippings, Photographs, Unpublished Materials, and Secondary Publications.

Appointments can be made to view materials that are not available online by contacting the Annenberg Library.

Out of the Question: Women, Media, and the Art of Inquiry

Out of the Question: Women, Media, and the Art of Inquiry is a new 38-minute documentary by award-winning filmmaker Naomi McCormack. It charts the careers of five women and their experiences as researchers and audience members for the new media of their era. The film provides a compelling window into gendered cultures of work, media, and the social sciences in 1940s America and raises questions of ongoing significance about them.

The film is also supported by a website (still a little under construction) that includes teaching resources as well as new research on pioneering women in communication and media studies.

ICA Fellows Book Award Winner: The Control Revolution

As you may have already heard in San Francisco, James R. Beniger’s The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (Harvard University Press, 1986) won the International Communication Association Fellows Book Award which recognizes books that “have made a substantial contribution to the scholarship of the communication field, as well as the broader rubric of the social sciences, and have stood some test of time.” (August 2007, ICA Newsletter).You can check out this cross-disciplinary synthesis on the origins and meaning of the Information Society from either the Annenberg or Van Pelt Library or access the online version.

The ICA award has not been long in existence. Here is the list so far:

2007 – James R Beniger, U of Southern California
The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society

Published in 1986 by Harvard U Press

2004 – Klaus Krippendorff, U of Pennsylvania
Content Analysis: An Introduction to its Methodology

Published in 2004 by Sage

2002 – James Bradac (Deceased), U of California – Santa Barbara
Charles R. Berger, U of California – Davis
Language and Social Knowledge: Uncertainty in Interpersonal Relations

Published in 2002 by E. Arnold

2000 – Everett M. Rogers (Deceased), U of New Mexico
Diffusion of Innovations

Margaret Blanchard featured in special issue of Communication Law and Policy

A recent issue of Communication Law and Policy (Volume 11, Number 3, Summer 2006) is devoted to the scholarship of free speech historian Margaret Blanchard.

The lead piece, “Anthony Comstock and His Adversaries: The Mixed Legacy of this Battle For Free Speech,” is written by Blanchard and John E. Semonche, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina. The article began as one of the ten chapters in a book by Blanchard and Semonche tentatively titled Speak No Evil: Sin, Sex and Censorship from Comstock to Helms. The book is forthcoming this year by Rowman and Littlefield as Sin, Sex, and Censorship: A Historical Peek. W. Wat Hopkins edited the issue which also features “Dissent Yesterday and Today: The Tinker Case and Its Legacy,” by Joseph Russomanno; “Unconstitutional Review Board? Considering a First Amendment Challenge to IRB Regulation of Journalistic Research Methods,” by Robert L. Kerr; and “Through the Eyes of the Abolitionists: Free Association and Anti-Slavery Expression,” by Amy Reynolds.

The issue is available online from Penn Libraries.

Tribute Essays in Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media Honoring BEA Anniversay

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Broadcast Education Association, its official journal, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, has been honoring research pioneers in broadcasting in a series of tribute essays beginning in Volume 49, Issue 2 (2005) and culminating in the 50th anniversary year (2006) in Volume 50, Issue 4. Now that the last tribute has appeared in the latest issue of JOBEM, I thought I’d take the opportunity to feature the whole list, in case you missed the series or parts of it. The listings are in volume and issue order. Essays are relatively brief, no more than 8 pages, and include a brief bibliography.

Volume 49:
William Stephenson: Traveling an Unorthodox Path to Mass Communication Discovery, by Stuart Esrock

Erik Barnouw (1908-2001): Broadcasting’s Premier Historian, by Christopher Sterling, et al.

Teacher-Scholar Herbert Zettl: Applied Educational Ideas, by Lawrence J. Mullen

Volume 50:
Jennings Bryant: The “Compleat” Scholar, by Susan Thompson

Maxwell McCombs: Agenda-Setting Explorer, by William R. Davie and T. Michael Maher

Sydney W. Head (1913-1991): Remembering the Founder of Modern Broadcasting Studies, by Christopher Sterling, et al.

Rethinking Marshall McLuhan: Reflections on a Media Terrorist, by Donald A. Fishman

Understanding Electronic Media Audiences: The Pioneering Research of Alan M. Rubin, by Paul M. Haridakis and Evonne H. Whitmore

Vernon A. Stone: Newsman and Educator, by Rod G. Gelatt

Sorry, no online access to this journal. You have to come to the ASC library.

For those of you reading this far down…actually the last issue of the Research Pioneer Tribute series is Volume 51, Number 1 (2007) and features three more pioneers! They are: Jannette Dates: A Lifelong Commitment to Teaching, Scholarship, and Service, by Cristina Pieraccini;
Lynne Schafer Gross: Extraordinary Role Model, by Elizabeth Leebron; and Scholar, Historian, Individualist: John Michael Kittross, by William G. Covintonr, Jr.

Forgotten Communication Scholars

The October 2006 issue of Javnost: The Public is devoted to “the notion of a forgotten (or neglected) literature in the field of communication studies,” as issue editor Hanno Hardt states in the issue’s introduction. Scholars and their works include: Erich Fromm’s The Sane Society; Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man; Hugh Dalziel Duncan and symbolic interactionism; Harrold Innis; Jeremy Turnstall’s Journalists at Work; and Ludovico Silva. Available in ASC Library only.