Adrian Johns

Allan Grant Maclear Professor of History
Chair of Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science

Field specialties: History of science; British history; history of intellectual property; history of the book and reading.

Adrian Johns is Allan Grant Maclear Professor in the Department of History and the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (University of Chicago Press, 1998), Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), and Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010). The Nature of the Book won the Leo Gershoy Award of the American Historical Association and a number of other prizes, while Piracy won the Laing Prize. He has published many papers in the history of science and the history of the book. Educated in Britain at the University of Cambridge, Professor Johns has taught at the University of Kent at Canterbury, the University of California, San Diego, and the California Institute of Technology.

Recent publications include:

  • The Nature of the book: print and knowledge in the making (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).
  • Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).
  • Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010).
  • “Gutenberg and the Samurai: Or, The Information Revolution is History.” Anthropological Quarterly 85:3 (Summer 2012), 859-83.
  • “The Property Police.” In M. Woodmansee, P. Jaszi, and M. Biagioli (eds.), Making and Unmaking Intellectual Property: Creative Production in Legal and Cultural Perspective(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 199-213.
  • “Coffeehouses and print shops.” The Cambridge History of Science, III: Early Modern Science (ed. L. Daston and K. Park. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006), 320-40.
  • “The identity engine: printing and publishing at the beginning of the knowledge economy.” In L. Roberts, S. Schaffer and P. Dear (eds.), The mindful hand: inquiry and invention from the late Renaissance to early industrialisation (Chicago, IL: Edita/University of Chicago Press, 2007), 403-28.
  • “Intellectual property and the nature of science.” Cultural Studies 20 (2006), 145-64.
  • “Reading and Experiment in the Early Royal Society.” K. Sharpe and S. Zwicker (eds.), Reading, Society and Politics in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 244-71.
  • “Print and Public Science.” The Cambridge History of Science, IV: Science in the Eighteenth Century(ed. R. Porter. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2003), 536-60.
  • “Science and the Book.” The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain (7 vols. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. General Editors: D.F. McKenzie, D.J. McKitterick, I.R. Willison), vol. IV (2003), 274-303.
  • “How to acknowledge a revolution.” American Historical Review 107 (2002), 106-25 (part of an invited “Forum” with Elizabeth Eisenstein and Anthony Grafton).