John Durham Peters Senior Fellow

John Durham Peters
Mai – Juli 2018


Higher Education

1982-1986 Stanford University.
Communication Theory and Research. Ph.D., 1986.

1980-1982 University of Utah.
English, B.A., 1981.
Speech Communication, M. A., 1982.

1975-1977, 1979 Brigham Young University.

Professional and Academic Positions

2017-present María Rosa Menocal Professor of English, Yale University.
English & Film and Media Studies.

2010-2016 A. Craig Baird Professor, University of Iowa.
Department of Communication Studies.

2008-2011 Chair, Department of Communication Studies.

2002-2010 F. Wendell Miller Professor, University of Iowa.
Department of Communication Studies.

2000-2001 Professor, University of Iowa.
Department of Communication Studies.

1992-2000 Associate Professor, University of Iowa.
Department of Communication Studies.

1999-2000 Leverhulme Fellow, Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Department of Media and Communications.

1998-1999 Fulbright Professor, University of Athens, Greece.
Department of Mass Media and Communication.

1990 Exchange Professor, Catholic University of Nijmegen, Netherlands.
Departments of American Studies and Film.

1986-1992 Assistant Professor, University of Iowa.
Department of Communication Studies.

Short-term Visiting Professor

Summer 2007-2010 Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
Winter 2010-11, Winter 2012-13 Hebrew University of Jerusalem
January 2012 University of Oslo
January 2016 Leuphana Universität, Lüneburg, Germany
June-July 2016 Freie Universität-Berlin, Germany

IKKM Research Project

The history of human interaction with weather is also the history of cultural techniques and media technologies. Dramatists and divines have sought meaning from atmospheric events. Reading the skies is a paradigmatic case of human-nature interaction, and studying weather can stand in as part for whole as an inquiry into the environments humans have made or unmade. The history of modern weather forecasting is also a history of the militarization of the sky and oceans, and is co-extensive with the history of modern telecommunications and computation. It took modern systems of telecommunication and time-coordination to make weather both predictable and mundane. Indeed, boring weather is a modern invention. Prior to the eighteenth century, the only weather worth talking about was dramatic. The history of weather is also the history of changing scales between local, regional, and planetary.

Weather raises questions of profound interest to recent and classic media theory such as how mundane infrastructures can be full of meaning and how vaporous or evanescent entities, ones that exist as white noise, can be tracked, recorded, and programmed. The history of worldwide computational infrastructures is a meteorological history, as Paul Edwards has shown. Studying the weather is a special case in media theory’s more general study of how media help constitute the world. This book proposes to be tell this story.

In this book, I plan five interlocking chapters on the media of weather: weather gods, weather words, weather images, weather data, and weather sounds. These five chapters not only invoke the five principal media by which weather and humans have interacted, but also the five main approaches to interdisciplinary media studies as I see it: religious studies, literary studies, visual studies, science and technology studies, and sound studies--all of them, of course, wrapped in a larger theoretical and environmental framework. The book will be eclectic in its sources but will draw widely on recent burgeoning work in the history of science and environmental history as well as more classic literary, religious, philosophical, and technical sources.

Recent publications


Promiscuous Knowledge: Image and Information in Historical Perspective. By Kenneth Cmiel and JDP. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (contract; in progress).

The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. 416 pp.

Chinese translation, forthcoming, China CITIC Press.
Korean translation, in process, Culturelook Publishing.

Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. 309 pp.

Hungarian translation, Wolters Kluwer, 2015.

Mass Communication and American Social Thought: Key Texts, 1919-1968. Eds. JDP and Peter Simonson. Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004. 531 pp.

Articles and Chapters

“Die Medien des Atmens.” Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, under review.

“The Charge of a Light Barricade: Optics and Ballistics in the Ambiguous Being of Screens,” Screens Unbound, ed. Craig Buckley, Rüdiger Campe, and Francesco Casetti, in progress.

“Babel and Babble in Benjamin and Burke,” Communication + 1, forthcoming. (By Samuel McCormick and JDP.)

“Babel et bavardage chez Benjamin et Burke,” CNRS publications, trans. Florian Lombardo, in progress.

“The Media of Breathing.” Atmospheres of Breathing: Respiratory Questions of Philosophy, ed. Lenart Škof and Petri Berndtson, Albany: SUNY Press, 2018. 179-95.

“Introduction: Great Things, Small Means.” Introduction to Forum on Mormonism as Media, Mormon Studies Review 5 (2018): 17-25. (By Benjamin Peters and JDP).

“La libertad de expression en el mercado de las ideas.” Persona y Derecho 77 (2017): 353-69.

“The Bubonic Plague.” !0th Anniversary Graduate School of North American Studies, 2007-2017: Conversations, Contestations, and Cross-Cultural Comparisons. Berlin: JFK Institute, 2017. 50-51.

“Am Anfang war die Operation.” Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung 8:2 (2017): 193-99.

“‘You Mean My Whole Fallacy is Wrong’: On Technological Determinism,” Representations, 140 (October 2017): 10-26.

Translated as “’O que você diz de toda a minha falácia está errado’: sobre o determinismo tecnológico,” Matrizes 11:2 (2017): 13-33. Trans. Richard Romancini and André Ortega.

“Eternal Increase.” The Kimball Challenge at Fifty: Mormon Arts Center Essays. Ed. Richard Bushman and Glen Nelson. New York: Mormon Arts Center, 2017. 99-111.

“Like a Thief in the Night: Witnessing and Watching.” Testimony/Bearing Witness: Epistemology, Ethics, History, and Culture. Edited Sybille Krämer and Sigrid Weigel. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017. 189-207.<7span>

“Media in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead Trilogy.” The Iowa Review 47:1 (2017): 188-203.

“Norbert Wiener as Pragmatist,” Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication 7:2 (2016): 157-72. (By JDP and Benjamin Peters.)

“Master and Disciple: Communication.” As Iron Sharpens Iron: Listening to the Various Voices of Scripture, ed. Julie M. Smith. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2016. 173-7. (By Benjamin Peters and JDP.)

“Recording Beyond the Grave: Joseph Smith’s Celestial Bookkeeping.” Critical Inquiry 42:4 (2016): 842-64.

“Cloud.” Digital Keywords. Ed. Benjamin Peters. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016. 54-62.

German translation in progress.
Portuguese translation in progress.

“Philosophy of Technology 1964/2014.” Södertörn Lecture 11. (Booklet, 58 pp.). 2016.