The Leverhulme Trust-funded first stage of the News Networks in Early Modern Europe project comes to an end at the start of September. Publishing plans for two volumes of essays -- and more -- generated by its activities are currently progressing. Meanwhile for the most up-to-date news see the blog at <http://earlymodernnewsnetworks.wordpress.com/>.
In September the ongoing research of some of those involved in the Leverhulme News Networks in Early Modern Europe network, including exciting new projects in international news history, will adopt a new public profile at: CEMMN.net. For the latest news, a full archive of the Leverhulme project, plus other resources, please visit this site.
The emergence of newsprint in 16th and 17th-century Europe was a phenomenon which manifested all across the continent and which soon reached into every sphere of social, political, religious and intellectual life. Its immediate importance, and the growth of its influence ever since, can conspire to give the impression of a settled, even homogeneous status for early newspapers. But this belies the bewildering multiplicity of contexts that helped fashion, not just the form and content of newspapers, but the very idea of news. News was shaped by the sites of its production and reception, the means by which it was transmitted, the routes it followed, the languages in which it was written or into which it was translated; and it was impeded by an equally impressive array of obstacles, including censorship, war, divisions of confession, language or nationality, and geographical boundaries. For all the local contingencies of production and consumption that are crucial to properly understanding them, news and newsprint were at the same time genuinely transnational phenomena that contributed vitally to the formation of another, namely the emergence of Europe in something like the modern sense.
The challenge of writing the history of news is correspondingly great. An appropriate sensitivity even to the sheer size of the territory over which early modern newsprint ranged, both as commodity and as agent, demands of the historian a simultaneous breadth and specificity of knowledge beyond the capacity of any individual researcher. As a result the various histories of news produced in recent years have tended to be nationally bounded. “News Networks in Early Modern Europe” is a Leverhulme Trust-funded international network, bringing together scholars from all over Europe with research interests in the news cultures of France, England, Germany, the Low Countries and the Iberian peninsula in the 16th and 17th centuries in order to address these methodological challenges, and lay the groundwork for a truly pan-European history of newspapers, while providing fresh national perspectives.
Membership and Activity
Led by Professor Joad Raymond (Queen Mary, University of London), the core network consists of Dr Paul Arblaster (Zuyd University, Maastricht), Professor André Belo (Université Rennes 2), Professor Carmen Espejo (Universdad de Sevilla) and Professor Mario Infelise (Universita Ca’ Foscari, Venezia). They have collaborated in a series of workshops, each held in a city with which one of the members has an important institutional or research connection, and each of which was an important site of early modern news production and distribution. The workshops were regionally and thematically organised so as to co-ordinate the research of the network members, progressing from broad questions of methods and modes in early modern news history to case studies of specific places, channels of transmission, and events.
These directed researches were supplemented at each meeting by contributions from associate members of the network, who brought region- or subject-specific expertise to the discussions of the project. The combination of closely integrated research with the gradual expansion of the network was instrumental in formulating answers to questions such as where news was produced, how its reception was affected by cultural, linguistic and religious difference, how fast it travelled, what routes it followed, and what forms it took. The findings of the network were presented at an open symposium in London on 26-28th July 2013, and will feature in co-authored volumes of essays by the project participants.
This website, and its accompanying blog, will keep you abreast of developments in the project, inform you of news and forthcoming events or publications involving network members, and report on our activities. If you have any queries, or indeed suggestions, about the project and its activity, please email them to Lizzy Williamson (the network facilitator) at: