Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture

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Overview

In Always Already New, Lisa Gitelman explores the newness of new media while she asks what it means to do media history. Using the examples of early recorded sound and digital networks,
Gitelman challenges readers to think about the ways that media work as the simultaneous subjects and instruments of historical inquiry. Presenting original case studies of Edison's first phonographs and the Pentagon's first distributed digital network, the ARPANET, Gitelman points suggestively toward similarities that underlie the cultural definition of records (phonographic and not) at the end of the nineteenth century and the definition of documents (digital and not) at the end of the twentieth. As a result, Always Already New speaks to present concerns about the humanities as much as to the emergent field of new media studies. Records and documents are kernels of humanistic thought, after all--part of and party to the cultural impulse to preserve and interpret. Gitelman's argument suggests inventive contexts for "humanities computing" while also offering a new perspective on such traditional humanities disciplines as literary history.Making extensive use of archival sources, Gitelman describes the ways in which recorded sound and digitally networked text each emerged as local anomalies that were yet deeply embedded within the reigning logic of public life and public memory. In the end Gitelman turns to the World Wide Web and asks how the history of the Web is already being told, how the Web might also resist history, and how using the Web might be producing the conditions of its own historicity.

The MIT Press

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

"Gitelman's Always Already New artfully reconfigures our critical thinking about the material, social, and institutional contexts that have produced 'new media.' In this beautifully written book, she brings 'pastness' into an enlightening conversation with our current, complex engagement with the digital datasphere." Thom Swiss ,
interdisciplinary scholar, University of Minnesota, coeditor of New Media
Poetics

The MIT Press

"Gitelman's *Always Already New* artfully reconfigures our critical thinking about the material, social, and institutional contexts that have produced 'new media.' In this beautifully written book, she brings 'pastness' into an enlightening conversation with our current, complex engagement with the digital datasphere."--Thom Swiss, interdisciplinary scholar, University of
Minnesota, coeditor of *New Media Poetics*

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262572477
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 418,833
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Gitelman is Professor of English and Media, Culture, and Communication at New York
University. She is the coeditor of New Media, 1710--1915 (2003) and author of
Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (2006), both published by the MIT Press.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : media as historical subjects 1
I The case of phonographs
1 New media publics 25
2 New media users 59
II The question of the Web
3 New media bodies 89
4 New media 123
Epilogue : doing media history 151
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