Markus Krajewski is emerging as a leading scholar in the field of media archaeology, which seeks to trace cultural history through the media networks that enable and structure it. In World Projects he opens a new portal into the history of globalization by examining several large-scale projects that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, shared a grand yet unachievable goal: bringing order to the world.Drawing from a broad array of archival materials, Krajewski reveals how expanding commercial relations, growing international scientific agreements, and an imperial mopolization of the political realm spawned ambitious global projects. World Projects contends that the late nineteenth-century networks of cables, routes, and shipping lines--of junctions, crossovers, and transfers--merged into a multimedia system that was a prerequisite for conceiving a world project. As examples, he presents the work of three big-thinking plansmiths, each of whose work mediates between two discursive fields: the chemist and natural philosopher Wilhelm Ostwald, who spent years promoting a world auxiliary language and a world currency; the self-taught engineer and self-ainted authority on science and techlogy Franz Maria Feldhaus, who labored to produce an all-encompassing world history of techlogy ; and Walther Rathenau, who put ecomics to the service of politics and quickly transformed the German ecomy.With a keen eye for the outlandish as well as the outsized, Krajewski shows how media, techlogical structures, and naked human ambition paved the way for global-scale ventures that together created the first world wide web.
Markus Krajewski is professor of media history and theory at the University of Basel, Switzerland. He is the author of Paper Machines: About Cards and Catalogs, 1548 -1929.Charles Marcrum II is a translator of nonfiction and literary works. He earned an AM degree in Germanic languages and literatures from Harvard University.