“Protest on the Page: Essays on Print and the Culture of Dissent” edited by James L. Braughman, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen and James P. Dansky— Using Print

protest on the page

Braughman, James L., Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen and James P. Danky, (editors). “Protest on the Page: Essays on Print and the Culture of Dissent”, (The History of Print and Digital Culture), University of Wisconsin Press, 2015.

Using Print

Amos Lassen

Throughout history print has been used as a way to challenge ideas and conventions in this country. When those who wanted change, they went about printing, articulating and disseminating their ideas to others via the printed word. Looking at history, we see that protest always begins on the margins of society and print is the way to reach a larger audience In this collection of essays, scholars in different disciplines examine protest in print since 1865 in the United States. They look at the different kinds of dissidents who used print to spread their ideas whether those who called for change were anarchists, vegetarians or what-have-yous. Not surprisingly, we fins evangelicals and comic book readers calling for change as well as military men and feminists. One of the beautiful aspects of living in America is the right to protest.

We see that the medium of print has never been a neutral medium and it has always been important and instrumental in shaping protest and those who see the need of it.

This is fascinating journalistic history and there are new aspects of it included here. This is an alternative history of protest with excellent essays, opinions and facts. If we examine social change and its history we are quick to see that it has always depended on publications from the fringes of society and culture and print has always been an important player in change. It will be interesting to see how that will hold up in the age of the Internet when reaching others is just a click away. Here we also get a look at how movement politics have worked in our history. This book does not praise the free press in a democratic government but rather shows us the journalism of “visionary movements” and of people unhappy with the status quo. Dissent is not only part of our heritage but part of who we are. Rather than looking at the big newspapers, we see the smaller presses and read of the influences they have had. Here print culture means “media, journalism, and non-mainstream movements, groups, and ideas.”

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