Pre-digital Virtuality: Early Modern Scholars and the Republic of Letters

Callisen, Christian Thorsten & Adkins, Barbara (2011) Pre-digital Virtuality: Early Modern Scholars and the Republic of Letters. In Park, David W., Jankowski, Nicholas W., & Jones, Steve (Eds.) The Long History of New Media: Technology, Historiography, and Contextualizing Newness. Peter Lang, New York, pp. 55-72.

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This chapter explores the idea of virtual participation through the historical example of the republic of letters in early modern Europe (circa 1500-1800). By reflecting on the construction of virtuality in a historical context, and more specifically in a pre-digital environment, it calls attention to accusations of technological determinism in ongoing research concerning the affordances of the Internet and related media of communication. It argues that ‘the virtual’ is not synonymous with ‘the digital’ and suggests that, in order to articulate what is novel about modern technologies, we must first understand the social interactions underpinning the relationships which are facilitated through those technologies. By analysing the construction of virtuality in a pre-digital environment, this chapter thus offers a baseline from which scholars might consider what is different about the modes of interaction and communication being engaged in via modern media.

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ID Code: 41702
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: social networks, virtual participation, technological affordances, republic of letters, virtuality
ISBN: 9781433114410
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700) > Social and Community Informatics (080709)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000) > HISTORICAL STUDIES (210300) > European History (excl. British Classical Greek and Roman) (210307)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Division of Research and Commercialisation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Deposited On: 17 May 2011 01:46
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2014 21:52

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