The Origins of the Modern Public

making-publicsPublicity was once the exclusive property of men of rank. They alone, by virtue of their stations, could make things public. During the 18th century it became meaningful to talk about “public opinion” as something formed outside the state. Today anyone with a Twitter account can make a public. In this series from the CBC ┬áRadio show Ideas, producer David Cayley examines how publics were formed in Europe, between 1500 and 1700, and how these early publics grew into the concept of “the public” that we hold today.

The series comes from the research project Making Publics, which is being made by McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The project’s field of study has been England and Western Europe during the period that scholars now call the early modern, or roughly 1500 to 1700.

Episodes - click on the title to listen

Episode 1 – An introduction to Making Publics and to the Early Modern Period

Episode 2 – The Reformation

Episode 3 – Forms of Nationhood

Episode 4 – The Print Revolution

Episode 5 – Painting Modernity

Episode 6 – Elizabethan/Jacobean Theatre

Episode 7 – Theatre and Publics

Episode 8 – The Private Goes Public

Episode 9 – The Secret History of Domesticity

Episode 10 – Science and Its Publics

Episode 11 – Steps to a Public Sphere

Episode 12 – The News Revolution and the 18th Century Public Sphere

Episode 13 – Publics and Counterpublics

Episode 14 – The Public Sphere Today

Click here to go to the CBC page for The Origins of the Modern Public

Click here to go to the Making Publics, 1500-1700 website