Season 1 | Episode 2: "Reading"
Episode Producer: Michael Roberts
We begin this episode with a quick glance back to 1902, when the editors of the New York Times--citing legendary science-fiction author Jules Verne--predicted a day when newspapers would supplant novels. And newspapers, they worried, would fail to satisfy readers in the same way a robust novel could, leaving future generations unfulfilled as they chased after ephemeral bits of journalism printed in the daily paper.
A century later, worries about the future of reading persist. Now, however, newspapers seem more out than in. Today's perpetuators of unfulfillment are the hyper-reading practices facilitated by the Internet. At least that's the common concern voiced by such critics as Nicholas Carr, author of a well-known article from the Atlantic entitled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" Taking Carr's article as a contemporary starting point, today's episode comes to you in three parts: First, Zeugma team members Hala Herbly and Lisa Gulesserian discuss Carr's claims, focusing especially on his claims that reading in digital environments leads to shallow, inattentive readers unable to engage deeply with any one text. In our second segment, Zeugma's Michael Roberts sits down with Bob Stein, a computer pioneer and founder of the Institute for the Future of the Book, for a more optimistic look at where the highly collaborative aspects of digital reading might take us. And finally, team member Eric Detweiler considers the reading practices of younger generations--from texting to Wikipedia to the teen drama Pretty Little Liars--and what they might bode for the future of scholarly reading and collaboration.
Interested in more of our interview with Bob Stein? Click the link below for the full version, including about twenty extra minutes of conversation about the past, present, and future of digital reading!