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Title: An archaeology of telegraphy (1830-1930) : with a case study of the 1879 Cape Cable
Author: Newland , Cassandra
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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This study focuses on the archaeology of telegraphy, specifically the emergence and ongoing relationships between people and technological things. Responding to the multiscalar debate within archaeology and a dissatisfaction with colonial metanarratives, my work seeks to integrate the material and the social. The study draws on 'Science and Technology Studies and Actor Network Theory inspired approaches to provide new and interesting approaches to the study of international phenomenon and the material dimensions of the telegraph within a global landscape. The study begins with the creation of an in-depth typology and the application of a historic landscape approach. Armed with this object-focused 'spotter's guide' the study turns to the complex international networks of telecommunications. Taking a physical section of the 1879 Cape Cable an 'object biography' approach is applied. The sources of the raw materials for the cable are established, along with their associated landscapes, industries, social and economic implications. The dissertation then goes on to examine the coming together of these raw materials at the manufacturing centre in the East End of London. Here, the impact of the industry on the local landscape and population are explored, with an emphasis on domestic living conditions and the creation of distinct settlement patterns. The study then sketches out a 'megatransect', the route of the cable as it is transported to East Africa. It explores the cable ships, coaling depots and provisioning stations through the documentary record and site visits. The study follows the landing of the Cape Cable on the African mainland, discovering life at the Cable Stations of Durban and Delagoa Bay complete with their farms, laundries, kitchen gardens, libraries, and tennis courts. Attention is paid to the complicated local, national and international relationships in which the cable participates and the light it can shed on ideas of colonialism and empire.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available