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Nicholas Popper, "The Specter of the Archive: Political Practice and the Information State in Early Modern Britain" (U Chicago Press, 2024)

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We are used to thinking of ourselves as living in a time when more information is more available than ever before. In The Specter of the Archive: Political Practice and the Information State in Early Modern Britain (University of Chicago Press, 2024), Nicholas Popper shows that earlier eras had to grapple with the same problem—how to deal with too much information at their fingertips.

Popper reveals that early modern Britain was a society newly drowning in paper, a light and durable technology whose spread allowed statesmen to record drafts, memoranda, and other ephemera that might otherwise have been lost, and also made it possible for ordinary people to collect political texts. As original paperwork and copies alike flooded the government, information management became the core of politics.

Focusing on two of the primary political archives of early modern England, the Tower of London Record Office and the State Paper Office, Popper traces the circulation of their materials through the government and the broader public sphere. In this early media-saturated society, we find the origins of many issues we face today: Who shapes the archive? Can we trust the pictures of the past and the present that it shows us? And, in a more politically urgent vein: Does a huge volume of widely available information (not all of it accurate) risk contributing to polarization and extremism?

Listen to Nick Popper speak with New Books Network about Walter Ralegh's "History of the World" and the Historical Culture of the Late Renaissance (University of Chicago Press, 2012) on New Books Network here.

Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive.

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1126 episoder

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Manage episode 414685298 series 2999972
Indhold leveret af New Books Network. Alt podcastindhold inklusive episoder, grafik og podcastbeskrivelser uploades og leveres direkte af New Books Network eller deres podcastplatformspartner. Hvis du mener, at nogen bruger dit ophavsretligt beskyttede værk uden din tilladelse, kan du følge processen beskrevet her https://da.player.fm/legal.

We are used to thinking of ourselves as living in a time when more information is more available than ever before. In The Specter of the Archive: Political Practice and the Information State in Early Modern Britain (University of Chicago Press, 2024), Nicholas Popper shows that earlier eras had to grapple with the same problem—how to deal with too much information at their fingertips.

Popper reveals that early modern Britain was a society newly drowning in paper, a light and durable technology whose spread allowed statesmen to record drafts, memoranda, and other ephemera that might otherwise have been lost, and also made it possible for ordinary people to collect political texts. As original paperwork and copies alike flooded the government, information management became the core of politics.

Focusing on two of the primary political archives of early modern England, the Tower of London Record Office and the State Paper Office, Popper traces the circulation of their materials through the government and the broader public sphere. In this early media-saturated society, we find the origins of many issues we face today: Who shapes the archive? Can we trust the pictures of the past and the present that it shows us? And, in a more politically urgent vein: Does a huge volume of widely available information (not all of it accurate) risk contributing to polarization and extremism?

Listen to Nick Popper speak with New Books Network about Walter Ralegh's "History of the World" and the Historical Culture of the Late Renaissance (University of Chicago Press, 2012) on New Books Network here.

Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  continue reading

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