Research on early modern news and public opinion is gaining ever more scholarly interest, both in our faculty and beyond. On Tuesday, April 8, the research group Early Modern News Culture organizes a session with Andrew Pettegree (St Andrews) and Helmer Helmers (UvA) in which the prospects of this line of research are debated.
Andrew Pettegree will give a paper in which he presents both his new book, The Invention of News, and his views on the future of news research. Helmers will respond from the perspective of his new Veni-project on Dutch news and public opinion during the Thirty Years War.
Andrew Pettegree is one of the most prominent historians of early modern book culture, the leader of the Universal Short-title Catalogue Project and the author of various books, including Emden and the Dutch Revolt, Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion, and The Book in the Renaissance. This year he published The Invention of News, which is already widely acclaimed for its broad and insightful take on news culture in early modern Europe.
Helmer Helmers is lecturer at the Dutch department and NWO Veni-researcher at the UvA. He has published various articles on early modern literature, focusing especially on Anglo-Dutch exchange. His first book, The Royalist Republic, will appear with Cambridge University Press later this year.
Helmer Helmers' propositions for this seminar are:
Historical news is a promising research subject exactly because it speaks to many current developments of our media society. Therefore, we should adopt those perspectives that speak best towards the issues that face our own media society.
The rise of the news is an important form of globalization. This implies that in studying early modern news, a transnational approach is essential. In line with research in globalization we should study the dialectic between local, national and transnational levels of news production and debate.
The continuing availability of printed news had a major cultural as well as a political impact. By studying the remedialization of the news and the processes by which seemingly ephemeral texts entered into collective memories we can not only start writing a cultural history of news, but also assess the longterm influence.
The development of the news industry in Amsterdam is a viable line of research that fits well within broader focus points of the faculty. Building on recent research on the producers of news, new histories of the news should question the current paradigm of a linear, progressive development.