On the face of it, there is something uniquely contemporary about the practices and procedures of listing. The present era might be variously characterized according to the “kill lists” of drone warfare, the instructional lists of computational algorithms, the cultural rankings of the “best of” lists, or the ubiquitous clickbait “listicles” that vie for our attention. Indeed, it would seem that the politics and aesthetics of digital culture can be traced in the ever more visible proliferation of lists. Yet in List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to Buzzfeed, the first book by Canadian scholar Liam Cole Young, listing is shown to have been “a part of every new media ecology and its corresponding ‘flood’ of information” (14). Young, currently a lecturer in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, Ottawa, argues that the cultural technique of listing is ancient...

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