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Distributed for Concordia University Press

Old Media and the Medieval Concept

Media Ecologies Before Early Modernity

This book looks at medieval media such as palimpsests and marginalia through the lens of the digital era.

Approaches to media such as commentaries, palimpsests, and marginalia during the Middle Ages anticipated the forms and practices of our own digital era. In highlighting these connections among the so-called dark, modern, and digital ages, Old Media and the Medieval Concept revises traditional historical narratives as it proposes new ways to understand the technologies that bind past and present. The authors investigate a variety of subjects, including global media ecologies, media historiography, the long history of digital computation, and the pedagogical stakes of our research. Ultimately, this ambitious collection brings digital humanities, media studies, and medieval studies into fresh conversation about the media ecologies that shape our world.

280 pages | 11 color plates, 1 halftone | 6 x 8

Media Studies


"Old Media and the Medieval Concept successfully brings the richness of premodern media history into closer and more productive conversation with the field of media studies. This is vital work, since the orientation of media studies is often presentist or futurist, while manuscript studies, which is all that narrow understandings of 'premodern media history' might seem to include, has sometimes neglected the insights of media theorists working mostly with later material. By cleverly refiguring the 'Middle Ages' as the 'mediating ages' between the classical and Biblical texts that medieval manuscripts often contain or reference, and a later, putatively more enlightened historical moment, this volume's distinguished contributors demonstrate that the histories, ecologies, and archaeologies of medieval media offer a vital means of understanding both then and now."

Arthur Bahr, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"From colonial coconut cups to mnemonic verse tags in manuscripts, Old Media and the Medieval Concept unearths a rich hoard of early media and brings them into dialogue with our present moment. The result is a vibrant collection that transgresses boundaries of period, place, and field. Media historians will look to this book, and the series it inaugurates, as a lodestar pointing us toward what the field could be: theoretically engaged, historically acute, and always attentive to the politics of our work."

Whitney Trettien, University of Pennsylvania

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