by Kathy E. Ferguson
Duke University Press
While the stock image of the anarchist as a masked bomber or brick thrower prevails in the public eye, a more representative figure should be a printer at a printing press. In Letterpress Revolution, Kathy E. Ferguson explores the importance of printers, whose materials galvanized anarchist movements across the United States and Great Britain from the late nineteenth century to the 1940s.
Ferguson shows how printers--whether working at presses in homes, offices, or community centers--arranged text, ink, images, graphic markers, and blank space within the architecture of the page. Printers' extensive correspondence with fellow anarchists and the radical ideas they published created dynamic and entangled networks that brought the decentralized anarchist movements together. Printers and presses did more than report on the movement; they were constitutive of it, and their vitality in anarchist communities helps explain anarchism's remarkable persistence in the face of continuous harassment, arrest, assault, deportation, and exile.
By inquiring into the political, material, and aesthetic practices of anarchist print culture, Ferguson points to possible methods for cultivating contemporary political resistance.
“Letterpress Revolution brings poststructuralist and postmaterialist lenses to bear on the rich history of anarchist publishing and printing. Kathy E. Ferguson’s critical study is based on meticulous research and an impressive knowledge of the scholarly literature. Her exploration of the anarchists’ intricate networks of communication provides new perspectives on the constitution of American and Western European movements and anarchism’s theoretical trajectory and biases. The arguments are provocative and stimulating, as is her assessment of anarchism’s empowering legacy.” — Ruth Kinna author of The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism, co-author of Anarchic Agreements: A Field Guide to Collective Organizing
“This labor of love brings back to us an almost-lost world in vivid and exemplary ways, with theoretical sophistication, historical depth, analytical rigor, and literary flair. Letterpress Revolution is a beautiful book—and a hopeful gift to future generations.” — Marcus Rediker, coauthor of The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic
About the Author:
Kathy E. Ferguson is Professor of Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and the author of several books, including Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets.