We are finally ready to crack our textbook, Communication in History, and begin our readings from it. Please read carefully and actively, annotating your text directly or using sticky notes. Also keep in mind that this is not a traditional texbook, with everything "digested" for you. It is a collection of essays (and often just parts of larger pieces of writing) written by different writers from different fields in different styles. As with our downloaded articles, we'll have to work hard to get the articles to "talk to one another" and to us. We'll have to engage them activity and ask the questions listed in the "How to Analyze The Logic of An Article. . ." handout.
For your Thursday, 9/15 post, please consider carefully Denise Schmandt-Besserat's discussion of the neolithic token system as a key step in the "prehistory" of writing. Here are some questions to ponder and to respond to: How and why does she define what she means by "signs" and "symbols" at the start of her piece? Is her use of these terms consistent with the way Langer, Hayakawa and others use the terms? Why does she think the token system "laid the groundwork for the invention of pictographic writing"? What advantage did this system have over the "communication and data processing technologies" that preceded it? What were the weakness of the system? How did it eventually evolve into the next step --- pictographic tablets?