Virtual Workshop: ‘Rethinking the Politics and Practices of Print in Comparative Colonial Perspective’
What makes print colonial? Across varied colonial contexts, print inhabits a series of double-lives. It functions as a global technology linked within transnational circuits of exchange but also as one whose historical specifics – linguistic or legal, economic or cultural, intellectual or commercial – are, by necessity, articulated within the weighted power of imperial-colonial relationships. Consequently, much of the scholarship on print examines the medium through frameworks that focus on negotiations within particular networks of rule; given this, colonial histories of the medium are disproportionately focused on examining proto-nationalism in print circuits.
This workshop proposes examining the logic of print in comparative colonial contexts, so that we can ask new questions about both print and colonialism that move beyond traditional intra-imperial framing. We aim to do this by focusing comparatively on practices – the practices developed by the multiple actors inhabiting the world of print. These practices, we suspect, emerged out of very specific social configurations yet reflected how print’s agents and protagonists recognized the “needs” of imperial information gathering, dissemination, and control.