John Durham Peters (born
1958) is an American academic and the F. Wendell Miller
professor of Communication
Studies at the University of Iowa.
A media historian and social theorist, he
is probably best known for his first book Speaking into the
Air: A History of the Idea of Communication
which traces out
broad historical, philosophical, religious, cultural, legal, and
technological contexts for the study of communication. He has held
fellowships with the National Endowment for the
, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Leverhulme
grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, pursued studies at Brigham Young
University in Provo, Utah, and graduated with a B.A. in English from the University
of Utah, where he also earned his M.A. in Speech Communication.
received in Ph.D. in Communication Theory and
Research from Stanford
University in 1986 before accepting a faculty appointment at
- Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal
- Canonic Texts in Media Research: Are There Any?
Should There Be? How About These? With co-editors
Elihu Katz, Tamar Liebes, and Avril Orloff (2003)
- Mass Communication and American Social Thought: Key Texts,
1919-1968. With Peter Simonson (2004).
- Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of
Communication] (1999) Excerpt about the Dead Letters Office
- “‘The Marketplace of Ideas’: A History of the Concept.”
Toward a Political Economy of Culture: Capitalism and
Communication in the Twenty-First Century. Eds. Andrew
Calabrese and Colin Sparks. Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004.
- “Space, Time, and Communication Theory.” Canadian Journal
of Communication 28 (2003): 397-411.
- “Witnessing.” Media, Culture and Society, 23.6 (2001):
- “Public Journalism and Democratic Theory: Four Challenges.”
The Idea of Public Journalism. Ed. Theodore L. Glasser.
New York: Guilford Press, 1999. 99-117.
- “Distrust of Representation: Habermas on the Public Sphere.”
Media, Culture and Society 14.3 (1993): 441-471.
- “Institutional Sources of Intellectual Poverty in Communication
Research.” Communication Research 13.4 (1986):