Refresh for the History of Communication Series

Jane Rhodes and Lisa Parks are delighted to build on and invigorate the University of Illinois Press’ History of Communication series, renamed The History of Media and Communication. The books in the series will emphasize technology and infrastructure, the politics of social differences and intersectionality, environmental issues, globalization, and labor as they relate to media and communication. Our ambition is to publish monographs and collections that demonstrate innovative historiographic practices and engage with underexplored archives, sources, sites, voices, and experiences. We encourage greater attention to transnational, postcolonial, and decolonial studies through an historical lens. The series will publish research by scholars in media and communication studies whose work also engages with other fields such as gender and ethnic studies, science and technology studies, environmental studies, and global studies. The goal is to develop original, rigorous, and path breaking books that bring forth the complex pasts of media and communication and that link to contemporary life and near futures.

Areas of interest

  • the politics of social differences and intersectionality (gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, class, nation, ability and so on), as they relate to histories of media and communication 
  • the historical emergence of media and communication technologies ranging from telegraphy to the internet, radio to television, smartphones to social media platforms, satellite constellations to 5G networks; attention to the materialities of infrastructures, devices, and sociotechnical relations that have historically enabled media and communication
  • environmental histories of media and communication that address issues of milieu, natural resources, energy, ecological impacts, weather, disasters, and/or climate change 
  • labor in the history of media and communication, exploring areas such as electronics manufacturing, content production and moderation, or immaterial/“free labor” associated with digital media economies
  • historically shifting relations of media and democracy, including questions of media ownership and policymaking, propaganda, fake news, misinformation, disinformation, algorithms, bots, and automated media  
  • inventive historiographic practices and creative uses of archives, sources, and materials in developing the history of media and communication; efforts to bring forth excluded voices and positionalities 

Relevant Fields: Media and Communication Studies; Cultural History; Critical Theory; Gender Studies; Race/Ethnic Studies; Science and Technology Studies; Global Studies; Information Studies

Jane Rhodes is Professor of Black Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She has also held faculty and administrative positions at Macalester College, UC San Diego, and Indiana University. She studies the media representations of racialized groups, the history of Black media, Black women activists of the 19th and 20th centuries, and Black Atlantic history. Her books include Mary Ann Shadd Cary: The Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century (Indiana University Press); and Framing the Black Panthers: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon (University of Illinois Press) now in a second edition. Her current project, Rebel Media, is a collection of critical essays on radical black media in the twentieth century. She is also co-author of a forthcoming biography Transatlantic Blackness in the Era of Jim Crow: The Life of Marie Battle Singer.

Lisa Parks is Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was formerly Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Parks is the author of Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual (Duke UP, 2005) and Rethinking Media Coverage: Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror (Routledge, 2018). She is co-editor of: Life in the Age of Drone Warfare (Duke UP, 2017), Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures (U of Illinois, 2015), Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries and Cultures (Rutgers UP, 2012), and Planet TV: A Global Television Reader (NYU, 2003). Parks is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and is Director of the Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab.

About Kristina Stonehill