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A Communication History Conference in Venice Organized by PCA Professor

Almost 90 leading scholars from more than 20 countries gathered in Venice, Italy, on September 16-18, 2015, to attend a communication history conference entitled Bridges and Boundaries: Theories, Concepts and Sources of Communication History. The event was organized by a 3-member team headed by Dr. Juraj Kittler, who proposed the idea two years ago and subsequently supervised the execution of the project with Dr. Gabriele Balbi from Switzerland and Dr. Rosa Salzberg from the UK.

The conference brought together scholars from various academic fields who often study the historical development of human communication and media technologies, yet are members of different academic departments and associations and as a result rarely meet and talk about their work. Therefore the event offered a common platform for communication scholars, mainstream historians, historical geographers, and literary historians to meet in Venice for three days and discuss their research strategies.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Mario Infelise from University of Venice Ca’ Foscari, focusing on the central position that Venice played in pioneering modern communication – mainly early modern print as well as sixteenth century hand-written newspapers. The second day of the conference, Dr. Richard R. John from Columbia University offered a masterclass that addressed the central theme of the event. The last day of conference featured three leading historians of television – Dr. Peppino Ortoleva from Italy, Dr. Andreas Fickers from Luxembourg, and Dr. Jerome Bourdon from Israel – who engaged in a public debate during a plenary session. The guest of honor at the conference was Dr. Elihu Katz – an octogenarian considered to be the living history of communication research, both due to his age as well as due to the lasting intellectual imprint that he left in the field.

The conference meet at the Venetian seat of Warwick University (Palazzo Pesaro Papafava). It was organized under the auspices of the History Section of European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), and co-sponsored by the Centre for Early Modern Mapping, News and Networks at Queen Mary University of London (CEMMN). St. Lawrence University financial services staff facilitated the collection of funds for this event.