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Grant number: FT-248633-16

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FT-248633-16

Brian Hochman
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)

A History of Wiretapping in the United States

A history of wiretapping in the United States, from the Civil War to the present.

All Ears: A History of Wiretapping in the United States explores one of modern media history’s most inconvenient truths: that technologies for eavesdropping on communications have proliferated as rapidly as communications technologies themselves. Third parties tapped the earliest telegraph wires during the nineteenth century, and America’s communications systems have been bugged ever since. Drawing on a range of primary source materials, All Ears uncovers the history of wiretaps and other eavesdropping technologies in the United States. In the process, the book chronicles debates about eavesdropping that have captured the public’s attention since the mid-nineteenth century. My central argument is that cultural contests over wiretapping constitute contests over what it means to communicate in a networked society--a society in which information needs to travel across vast distances, and a society in which technologies of all sorts enable the human voice to traverse them.

Project fields:
American Studies; Cultural History; Media Studies

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 7/31/2016