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Protest on the Page
Essays on Print and the Culture of Dissent since 1865
Edited by James L. Baughman, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, and James P. Danky

The History of Print and Digital Culture
James P. Danky, Christine Pawley, and Adam R. Nelson, Series Editors

“These are fresh, fascinating inquiries into the unknown byways of American journalistic history. Protest on the Page amounts to an alternative history of the press, far different from the familiar triumphant and establishment-celebrating narrative.”
—Nicholas Lemann, the Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

The use of print to challenge prevailing ideas and conventions has a long history in American public life. As dissenters in America sought social change, they used print to document, articulate, and disseminate their ideas to others. Protest always begins on the margins, but print is the medium that allows it to reach a larger audience. In Protest on the Page, scholars in multiple disciplines offer ten original essays that examine protest print culture in America since 1865. They explore the surprising range of dissidents who enlisted print in their causes—from vegetarians and anarchists at the advent of the twentieth century, to midcentury evangelicals and tween comic book readers, to GIs and feminists in the 1970s–’80s. Together they demonstrate that print has never been a neutral medium, but rather has been instrumental in shaping the substance of protest and its audiences.

James L. Baughman (1952–2016) was the Fetzer Bascom Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His many publications include Republic of Mass Culture: Journalism, Filmmaking and Broadcasting in America since 1941 (3rd edition).

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas.

James P. Danky is the cofounder of the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and retired librarian for periodicals and newspapers at the Wisconsin Historical Society. His many books include Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix.

Contributors: James P. Danky, James L. Baughman, Adam Thomas, Andrew D. Hoyt, Nicolás Kanellos, Trevor Joy Sangrey, Laura J. Miller, Emilie Hardman, Daniel Vaca, Carol L. Tilley, Derek Seidman, Micah Robbins, and Joyce M. Latham





“The latest addition to the outstanding University of Wisconsin Press series ‘History of Print and Digital Culture,’ deftly organized into three major sections (Revolt and Reaction, Consensus Contested, and Dangerous Print), Protest on the Page should be considered a critically important addition to academic library collections in communications and journalism.”
Midwest Book Review

“Its subject is invigorating: how ordinary people with passion for a cause seized the available print technology of the day to change other people’s minds, and ultimately the nation.”
Wisconsin State Journal

“Especially useful as a supplement to the traditional histories of American journalism that focus on the ‘mainstream’ media and the development and power of elite actors and the presses they control. There is much here that deepens and enriches our understanding of the history of dissent and resistance as well as the history of print media.”
JHistory, H-Net

“Many will automatically connect ‘protest writing’ and ‘dissent’ with the left, but as shown in some of the essays collected here, such writing can flourish at any point along the political spectrum. For example, Southern newspapers maintained defiant resistance during Reconstruction, often with blatantly racist arguments; and after World War II Protestant fundamentalists, dissenting against the culture of modernism, circulated their ideas through a network of publications and publishing houses.”
Milwaukee Shepherd-Express

“How great it is to have a book about the history of the press that’s not about the New York Times or Washington Post, and not about the glories of a free press in a democracy. The journalism of visionary movements—anarchism, feminism, dissent in the military—is part of our heritage too, and it’s great to see it get some of the attention it deserves.”
—Adam Hochschild, cofounder of Mother Jones magazine and the author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918

“Historians of social change have always drawn upon ephemeral publications from the fringes of politics and culture. But the essays in this splendid collection show that the printed word has actually been a central player in the politics of social movements, from anarchism to vegetarianism. This sharp focus on media provides valuable new insight into how movement politics has worked in American history.”
—David Paul Nord, author of Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media in America, 1790–1860

“A substantial contribution to the histories of print culture, media, journalism, and non-mainstream movements, groups, and ideas.”
—John Nerone, author of Violence Against the Press: Policing the Public Sphere in U.S. History

“By bringing together scholars of book history with scholars of social movements, the book charts print culture’s role in shaping protest’s substance and reception. . . . From anarchist prints to vegetarian cookbooks, this is a story of how print has shaped and promoted dissent by letting marginalized populations demand change.”
American Literary History


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April 2015
LC: 2014030784 PN
278 pp.   6 x 9
18 b/w illus.

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Paper $39.95 a
ISBN 978-0-299-30284-9
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