Juraj Kittler

Associate Professor English Department

The Pennsylvania State University

Juraj Kittler

Education History:
B.A. and M.S. - Slovak University of Technology
Ph.D. - The Pennsylvania State University

Current Professional/Research Interest:
How often we hear others talking about the crisis of modern democracy? Some suggest that it may be saved by the ‘new media’, while others - quite the contrary - see in new communication technologies the villain which caused the whole crisis in the first place. I personally believe that history gives us good insight to a better understanding of the current problems of our society - in particular to the crisis of our public sphere.

Consequently, my research focuses on a series of leading cities whose historical experience prepared the ground for our current global village. I study public communication in classical Athens, republican Rome, Renaissance Venice, early modern London, republican Philadelphia and Paris. I analyze contemporary communication technologies as well as different historical 'technological revolutions' while focusing on their impact on the overall social order.

At St. Lawrence I have a double appointment in the Performance and Communication Arts as well as in the English departments. My doctorate in mass communication is reflected in all classes I teach for the PCA Department. As a former radio reporter and newspaper editor I teach journalism classes in the English Department. After all, my main research interest - democracy and the public sphere - tie everything nicely together.

Recent Publications/Conferences:
My research on the public sphere has been published in the Journalism Studies, Mediterranean Historical ReviewCommunication and the Public, The International Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, Media History, International Communication Gazette, Journal of Cultural Economy, Medien & Zeit (Vienna, Austria), Journal of Global Mass Communication, and in the Global Media Journal. Together with John Nerone and Joad Raymond, I was a guest editor of a special issue of Media History dedicated to historical parallels between the spectrum scarcity debate and the impacts of the scarcity of paper manufacturing during the early print era (from Late Medieval Period/early Renaissance up until the early 1900s).

I contributed a chapter titled "The Enlightenment and the Bourgeois Public Sphere: Through the Eyes of a London Merchant-Writer" for The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies - Media History edited by J. Nerone and A. Valdivia (Wiley Blackwell, 2013), as well as a chapter analyzing the historical development and communicative aspects of the urban environment titled "The City," which was published in The Handbook of Communication History edited by by P. Simonson, J. Peck, R. T. Craig, and J. P. Jackson (Routledge, 2012).

I have spent multiple summer breaks and a sabbatical semester researching in the archives of Venice, Florence, Rome and the Vatican and I am currently working on a series of journal articles which will summarize my research on the conditions of the city's public sphere in the Renaissance period. I am focusing mainly on the networks of diplomatic correspondence, systems of postal couriers, and the history of the famous Venetian avisi – the earliest handwritten newsletters that first appeared in Italy in the fifteenth century.

My teaching experience is summarized in the article titled "College is not a Restaurant: Challenging Cultural Hegemony in the U.S. Classroom," which was published in a special issue of the journal New Directions for Teaching and Learning dedicated to the experiences of the non-native English speakers in the U.S. college classrooms.

Personal Interests:
As a scholar of public space, I like to be in the company of people talking about interesting things - from politics, history, philosophy, religion, to good food. I enjoy cooking for my friends, spending summers close to the water – the Mediterranean is my second home. I like historical books, movies, TV series and classical opera. The Adirondacks offer a wonderful array of opportunities for hiking, camping, kayaking and cross-country skiing and - as a newcomer to the region - I hope to have the opportunity to exploit them all in the near future.

List of Professional Associations Membership:
International Communication Association (ICA)
European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA)

Classes Taught:
PCA 127 Introduction to Communication
PCA 239 Media Industries
PCA 312 Democracy and the Public Sphere (special topics)
PCA 310 Culture & Media
PCA 360 The Public Sphere of Renaissance Venice
PCA 361 London Coffeehouses & Modernity
ENG 201 Introduction to Journalism
ENG 221 Reporting for the Web
ENG 309 Literary Journalism & Feature Writing
ENG 347 History and Theories of Journalism (special topics)

Contact Information