Scholars Program Lecture by Dan Schiller

From The Great Society to the Age of Nixon: The Task Force on Communications Policy
Date: 
20 Feb 2018 - 6:15pm to 7:30pm
Location: 
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 109
Audience: 
Open to the Public
Type: 
Lecture

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How was the liberalization of U.S. telecommunications system development effected? In fact, presidential policy for networks shifted dramatically between the late 1960s and the mid-1970s. Archival documents and oral history interviews permit us to trace this movement to liberalization by scrutinizing the Task Force on Communications Policy. Convened by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967, this initiative moved through two politically differentiated phases. Until the end of 1968, the Task Force sought to respond to business pressure for market opening within the framework of postwar liberalism. By contrast, beginning in 1969-70, the Task Force’s controversial Final Report was enlisted by the incoming Nixon Administration to pursue market opening in its own right, under the auspices of a strengthened Executive Branch.

Dan Schiller completed his Ph.D. at the Annenberg School for Communication in 1978. A historian of communications, he has been principally concerned with communications systems and institutions as formative elements within the forever dynamic and conflicted social relations of capitalism. He has focused principally on the United States context, in works that engage the history of journalism; the intellectual history of communications study; the still-unfolding transition into digital capitalism (a term he coined in the 1990s); and the social history of telecommunications. His conceptual approach has been enriched by working both in communication departments (University of Leicester; Temple University; UCSD) and schools of library and information science (UCLA; University of Illinois). Author of numerous books and articles, Schiller also has contributed frequently to Le Monde diplomatique and has lectured at institutions in East Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Presently, he is working to complete an archivally-based study of U.S. telecommunications from the 19th century Post Office to the Internet.

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