Originally published in 1950, Harold A. Innis’s Empire and Communications is considered to be one of the classic works in media studies, yet its origins have received little attention. Ambitious in its scope, the book spans five millennia, tracing a path of development around the globe from 2900 BCE to the twentieth century and revealing the cyclical interplay between communications and power structures across space and time.
In this new edition, William J. Buxton pays close attention to handwritten glosses that Innis added to a copy of the original edition and the revisions undertaken by his widow, Mary Q. Innis. A new introduction provides a detailed account of how the book emerged from lectures that Innis delivered at Oxford University in 1948, as well as how it related to other presentations Innis made in Britain during the same period. It explores how Innis sought to enrich his analysis by incorporating material related to phenomena such as war, education, religion, culture, geography, and finance. An insightful foreword by Marshall McLuhan is included, as well as bibliographical references and a revised index.
By providing a narrative based on extensive notes from Innis, this edition makes Empire and Communications more accessible and contributes to the broad efforts to shape Innis’s legacy.
About the authors
Harold A. Innis (1894-1952) was a Canadian professor of political economy at the University of Toronto and the author of seminal works on media, communication theory and Canadian economic history.
William J. Buxton is professor emeritus of communication studies at Concordia University, visiting professor at Laval University, co-editor of Harold Innis in the New Century: Reflections and Refractions, and editor of Harold Innis and the North: Appraisals and Contestations.
Other titles by Harold A. Innis
Select Documents in Canadian Economic History 1783-1885
Political Economy in the Modern State
Essays in Canadian Economic History
The Bias of Communication
The Fur Trade in Canada
An Introduction to Canadian Economic History
Essays in Political Economy
In Honour of E.J. Urwick
The History of an International Economy