Convergence Media History

Article excerpt

Convergence Media History. Janet Staiger and Sabine Hake, eds. New York, NY: Routledge, 2009. 211 pp. $125 hbk. $34.95 pbk.

Drawing on papers from a conference held at the University of Texas-Austin, where both editors teach communication and culture, the eighteen papers included in this anthology explore a variety of kinds of convergence - not simply the digital kind we are living with today.

Many of them raise provocative ideas, some from media studied before, but not with modern concepts. Most of the papers utilize motion pictures as the means and medium of study.

The papers appear in four sections. "New Methods" reviews such things as franchise histories as a study of the "negotiated process of expansion," the study of the leftists in Hollywood from both theory and political economy approaches, the many factors once used to sell cigarettes on television, and exploring the intermedial borders of media history.

"New Subjects" turns to what an early film exhibition (at the 1907 Jamestown Exposition) can tell us a century later, nationalism as reflected in exhibitions in Mexico in the 1920s, the recording industry's role in media history, forging a citizen radio audience into the 1940s, and the short instructional films made in Hollywood. …