Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
communication +1 aims to “promote new approaches to and open new horizons in the study of communication from an interdisciplinary perspective.” The editors are “particularly committed to promoting research that seeks to constitute new areas of inquiry and to explore new frontiers of theoretical activities linking the study of communication to both established and emerging research programs in the humanities, social sciences, and arts…. [The] primary objective is to create a space for thoughtful experiments and for communicating these experiments.”
The current issue, Volume 4 (2015): Occult Communications: On Instrumentation, Esotericism, and Epistemology, explores a phenomenon that has been around for centuries, yet is still not clearly delineated on any plane: the occult. As the issue introduction enquires: “What can the occult, the obscure, and the incommunicable teach us about the history of communications and culture? Occult Communications: On Instrumentation, Esotericism, and Epistemology, examines how spiritualism, esotericism, and occultism have shaped the dominant cultures of reason in European and North American contexts from the seventeenth-century until today.”
The twelve articles that follow this introduction are arranged in several sections. They include: Occcult Premotions ( “Insensible and Inexplicable – On the Two Meanings of the Occult” and “Media in Action: From Exorcism to Mesmerism”), The Spirit of Scientific Inquiry (“Fragile Balance: Human Mediums and Technical Media in Oliver Lodge’s Presidential Address of 1891,” “Self-Writing Machines: Technology and the Question of the Self”,” “Facts and Photographs: Visualizing the Invisible with Spirit and Thought Photography,” and “The Ghostularity”), The Spirit of Diversion ( “Mind Reading in Stage Magic: The “Second Sight” Illusion, Media, and Mediums,” “Ghosts of the City: A Spectrology of Cinematic Spaces,” and “The ‘Continuing Misfortune’ of Automatism in Early Surrealism”), and Transmedial Occultism ( “Spiritualist Writing Machines: Telegraphy, Typtology, Typewriting,” “Spreading the Spirit Word: Print Media, Storytelling, and Popular Culture in Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism,” and “Integration: Understanding New Mediation via Innovations in Horror Cinema”).
Articles are well-written and rigorously researched by scholars from around the globe in a wide variety of disciplines: media studies, cultural history, history, literature, anthropology, communications, philosophy, history of science, and more. And judging by the frequent number of downloads of material on the site, many in the scholarly community have already found communication +1 to be an interesting, and useful, publication. I recommend you recommend it to scholars across the spectrum of communication.