Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Anna Watkins Fisher, Thomas Keenan – New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader

New Media, Old Media

Routledge, ISBN: 978-1138021105, English, 752 pages, 2015, USA

With academic web repositories now flourishing, storing thousands of papers and providing readers with the ability to quickly search through them, one might wonder: what is the motivation to print a 750 page anthology about the theory and history of media? This type of question is superficial, however, as it relates only formally to the value of this kind of publication. In fact, one of the major attributes of this kind of book is in the selection. In the prolific field of media theory and history, a qualified filter can make a huge difference for both scholars and students. Where media studies is an ever-changing field that requires periodic updates, the second edition of this New Media, Old Media anthology of essays re-qualifies the original selection after ten years. With a third added editor there are two new sections (“Use” and “Desiring Data”). Some texts have been removed and new ones have been added, with a near doubling of content. The range of topics covered is extended, including classics (protocols, interfaces, memex, organised networks, masses, TV) beside newer challenges (porn, queer, viruses, trolls, drones, free labor). The admitted aim here is “to unsettle” instead of “settle” – to make a reference anthology that would question instead of define. In this respect, the majority of selected texts serve this purpose, giving value to a book that is ideal both for those who have to start studying these topics and for scholars who need a reference to refer to and rely on.