18 May 2022 - 18 May 2022
5:00PM - 6:00PM
Carla Roth (Basel) is the author of The Talk of the Town: Information and Community in Sixteenth-Century Switzerland, which has just been released with Oxford University Press in the Past & Present Book Series Register in advance for this webinar: https://durhamuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ENn94syfQhuMUcvBUpx90g
How did people in the sixteenth century deal with uncertain or contradictory news? This paper explores this question through a particularly well-documented microcosm of information in the small town of St Gall. It argues that St Gallers relied on an elaborate system of ‘source criticism’; a system which often worked in favour of oral news because it made people’s trust in a piece of news conditional on their trust in the messenger. At the same time, St Gall’s newsmongers used the flexibility of oral news to adjust their stories to their audience’s expectations, to present themselves and their sources as trustworthy, and to hide their reliance on anonymous printed news.