In 1992 James Danky, Wayne Wiegand, and Carl Kaestle founded the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The study of print culture was then a new field represented by scholars from many disciplines, including American studies, history, library and information studies, and literary studies. Stimulated by initiatives of the American Antiquarian Society and the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, most research covered the northeast of the United States in the period before 1876, but Wisconsin's new center aimed to encourage research into more recent time periods, and broader areas, a well as into the print culture of marginalized groups whose gender, race, class, creed, occupation, ethnicity, and sexual orientation have historically placed them on the periphery of power. Under the directorship of Danky and Wiegand, the center hosted conferences, sponsored lectures and colloquia, and introduced a new publishing series titled "Print Culture History." Over its fifteen-year history, the center has influenced a general shift in print culture studies from texts to readers of all walks of life, and has help move the field, as Danky argues, from "questions of aesthetics and technique" into social history.


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