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The Oxford History of Popular Print CultureVolume Six: US Popular Print Culture 1860-1920$
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Christine Bold

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199234066

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199234066.001.0001

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Postcard Culture in America

Postcard Culture in America

The Traffic in Traffic

Chapter:
(p.169) Chapter 8 Postcard Culture in America
Source:
The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture
Author(s):

Mark Simpson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199234066.003.0009

This chapter examines the cultural circulation and uses of newly invented postcards in the United States in the period around 1900. More specifically, it considers the complications arising from the relationship between the postcard’s front (with its visual stamp of mass consumption) and back (resignified and personalised by individual senders). After providing an overview on the beginnings of postcards, the chapter turns to their production, reproduction, and circulation. It then analyses the ideologies operating within postcard culture, with emphasis on polysemy and what Richard Ohmann calls ‘the hegemonic process’. The chapter also discusses the critical commentary inspired by the postcard craze before concluding with specific examples that highlight the postcard’s politics of mobility.

Keywords:   circulation, postcards, United States, postcard culture, polysemy, Richard Ohmann, hegemonic process, critical commentary, politics

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