Seeing by Electricity

The Emergence of Television, 1878-1939

Seeing by Electricity

Sign, Storage, Transmission

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Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 32 illustrations Published: March 2020

Author: Doron Galili

Subjects
Media Studies > Media Technologies, TV, Science and Technology Studies > History of Technology

Already in the late nineteenth century, electricians, physicists, and telegraph technicians dreamed of inventing televisual communication apparatuses that would “see” by electricity as a means of extending human perception. In Seeing by Electricity Doron Galili traces the early history of television, from fantastical image transmission devices initially imagined in the 1870s such as the Telectroscope, the Phantoscope, and the Distant Seer to the emergence of broadcast television in the 1930s. Galili examines how televisual technologies were understood in relation to film at different cultural moments—whether as a perfection of cinema, a threat to the Hollywood industry, or an alternative medium for avant-garde experimentation. Highlighting points of overlap and divergence in the histories of television and cinema, Galili demonstrates that the intermedial relationship between the two media did not start with their economic and institutional rivalry of the late 1940s, but rather goes back to their very origins. In so doing, he brings film studies and television studies together in ways that advance contemporary debates in media theory.

Praise

“Digging into television's origins and discovering secret lineages and unexpected ancestors, Doron Galili unearths the true reasons that fiercely opposed—and indissolubly linked—television and cinema. A masterful contribution to media archeology.” — Francesco Casetti, author of The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come

“Assembling wonderful material and offering nuanced readings of both filmic and theoretical texts, Doron Galili makes important interventions in the ongoing debates over media specificity and television's historiography. He is part of a new generation of scholars who are helping to put television's complicated and often occluded genealogy into conversation with the latest media studies debates. A page-turner, Seeing by Electricity will resonate with a broad spectrum of readers.” — William Uricchio, Professor of Comparative Media Studies, MIT

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Doron Galili is Researcher in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University, and coeditor of Corporeality in Early Cinema: Viscera, Skin, and Physical Form.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0822-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0772-2
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