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Controlling Readers, Policing Reception


Event Summary

This public dialogue series, supported by the Censorship, Information Control, and Information Revolutions from Printing Press to Internet research project at the Neubauer Collegium, brought together scholars of print revolutions past and present with practitioners working on the frontiers of today’s information revolution. These events were not formal panels with presented papers, but freeform discussions in which experts bounced ideas off each other, discovering rich parallels between our work and sharing them in real time. Taking place from October through November, the eight dialogues united historians, editors, novelists, poets, and activists, and were filmed and shared online, to let the public enjoy and continue the discussions. For more details on the series and related events, please visit

Nov 30 and December 1, two-day event: Controlling Readers, Policing Reception

Much discussion of censorship and information control focuses on creators, so we wrap up our series by examining how they affect readers, often by curating access, creating concentric categories of people who are permitted access to different materials. Social status, ethnicity, religion, language group, political affiliation, age: in this two-day event creators and scholars specializing in six different regions of the world discussed how information control systems from the Inquisition to the Great Firewall of China have categorized and policed readers.

Kyeong-Hee Choi (colonial censorship in occupied Korea under Japanese rule)

Wendy Doniger (author of a book censored in India)

Alan Charles Kors (Enlightenment censorship & book regulation, free speech on College Campuses)

Hannah Marcus (Inquisition licensing process, history of science)

Stuart McManus (Iberian empires, Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions)

Glenn Tiffert (contemporary China, internet censorship)

Cory Doctorow (digital information policy)