21 Jan: Talking about information
26 Jan: Technological Determinism
- Hughes, Thomas P. 1993. “War and Acquired Characteristics.” pp 285-323 in Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Heilbroner, Robert L. 1994. “Do Machines Make History?”, Technology and Culture 8(3):335-345.
- Bijker, Wiebe. 1995. “King of the Road: The Social Construction of the Safety Bicycle,” pp. 19 – 100 in Wiebe Bijker, Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Towards a Theory of Sociotechnical Change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- David, Paul. 1990. “The Dyanmo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox,” _American Economic Review, 80(2): 355-61.
28 Jan: The First Technologies of Information: Writing Systems
- Marshack, Alexander. 1999. “The Art and Symbols of Ice-Age Man,” in David Crowley, ed. Communication in History: Technology, Culture, Society. Allyn & Bacon. Pp. 5-14
- Robinson, Andrew. 1999. “The Origins of Writing.” In David Crowley, ed. Communication in History: Technology, Culture, Society. Allyn & Bacon. pp 36-42
2 Feb: Cultural Effects of Writing
- Havelock, Eric. “The Coming of Literate Communication to Western Culture,” in Eugene R. Kintgen, Barry M. Kroll, Mike Rose, eds. Perspectives on Literacy. Southern Illinois University, 1988. Pp. 127-134.
- Gough, Kathleen. 1968. Implications of literacy in traditional China and India. In Goody, Jack (ed.). Literacy in Traditional Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 69-84.
- Scribner, Silvia and Michael Cole. 1988. “Unpackaging Literacy.” at Social Science Information, 17, 1 (1978)
- Goody, Jack, and Ian Watt. 1963. The Consequences of Literacy. Comparative Studies in Society and History 5(3), 304-345.
4 Feb: Manuscript Culture
- Plato. 1973/360 bce. Phaedrus & the Seventh & Eighth Letters. W. Hamilton, trans. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
“Prelude,” pp 21-26, and then
“The inferiority of the written to the spoken word” & “Recapitulation and conclusion,” pp. 95-103.
- Trithemius, Johannes. 1974/1492. In Praise of Scribes. R. Behrendt, ed. Lawrence, KA: Coronado Press.
Chapters I-III, V-VII, XIV.
9 Feb: Print culture
- Eisenstein, Elizabeth. 1983. “Some Features of Print Culture,” pp 42-91 in Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- McLuhan, Marshall. 1962. “The Galaxy Reconfigured or the Plight of Mass Man in an Individualist Society,” pp 265-279 in The Gutenberg Galaxy: the making of typographic man. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto press.
- Watch: Fry, Stephen. Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press from the series “The Medieval Season: take a trip inside the medieval mind” on BBC4. (There are 6 parts which will take about 60 minutes total to watch.)
11 Feb: Emergence of the public sphere
- Cowan, Brian. 2005. “Inventing the Coffee House” and “Penny Universities,” pp. 79-112 in The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse. New Haven. Yale University Press.
- Darnton, Robert. 2000. “An Early Information Society: News and the Media in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” American Historical Review 105.1.
16 Feb: Scientific information
- Sprat, Thomas. 1667. pp 60-79 in The History of the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge London. Read from: from p. 60 “I come now to the Second Period of my Narration…” to p. 79, “The Royal Society will become Immortal.”
Note: The Royal Society was founded in England in 1660. It still exists today — this year is its 350th anniversary— and claims to be the world’s oldest scientific society. Thomas Sprat (1635-1713), the author of the work you have to read, was a student of one of the founders. He joined the Society in 1663 and was asked to write the Society’s history. In this book, then, we have a contemporary, insider’s account of the founding of a very influential society, one that people argue was at the center of the “scientific revolution.” Because it was written in the seventeenth century, however, the text is a challenge. But it is manageable and even rewarding with patience. Take it slowly–the section you have to read, pages 60-79, is not very long. If you keep going, what is at first confusing may become clear (or irrelevant). Mark up passages that don’t make sense (as well as those that interest you) to discuss in class, but keep on reading. As you read, ask yourself how much this does or does not resemble what we think of as modern science.
If you click on the links in the text, you will be able to see each page as it appeared in the original book. (And if you just want the plain text of the section you have to read without distractions, you can download it here.)
- Stubbe, Henry. 1670. ‘Mistakes about the Sweating-Sicknes, and its Cure,’ pp. 23-25 in Legends No Histories, or, A Specimen of Some Animadversions upon the History of the Royal Society. London.
18 Feb: Reference books and the organization of knowledge
- McArthur, Tom. 1986. Ch 12-15, pp. 91-133 in Worlds of Reference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Sun Tzu. nd. “The Use of Spies,”
ch. 13 of The Art of War, Lionel Giles, trans.
- Hann, John H. “Cloak and Dagger in Apalachicole Province in Early 1686,” Florida Historical Quarterly 78(1): 74-93.
- Warner, Michael. 2006. “The
Divine Skein: Sun Tzu on Intelligence.” Intelligence and
National Security 21(4): 483-492.
25 Feb: The postal system (David Henkin, guest lecturer)
- Henkin, David. 2007. Becoming Postal, pp 15-41 in The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2 Mar: Narrowcast: telegraph & telephone
- “Electro-Magnetic Telegraphs,” H. Rpt 753 (to Accompany Bill H.R. 713) 25th Congress, 2nd Session, April 6, 1838
- Alexander Graham Bell, “To the Capitalists of the Bell Telephone Company,” Kensington (UK), March 25, 1978
- Samuel Colt & William Robinson, “To the Public,” New York, May 20, 1846
Note:These three documents are available in bspace resources. Two are copies made from 19th century originals and consequently are not completely legible. Do your best to read them–and find out what it feels like to be a historian.
- Friedlander, Amy. 1995. ‘Telegraphy: The Precursor to Telephony, 1837-1873’ pp 10-21 in Amy Friedlander, Natural Monopoly and Universal Service: Telephones and Telegraphs in the U.S. Communications Infrastructure, 1837-1940. Washington, D.C. CNRI.
- Fischer, Claude S. 1992. Chapter 2 “The Telephone in America.” The Social History of the Telephone to 1940. University of California Press. Berkeley. pp 33-59
4 Mar: Literacy and the 19th century public sphere
- Schudson, Michael. 2003. “Where News Came From: The History of Journalism,” Ch. 4 in The Sociology of News, Norton. Pp. 64-89.
- Mindich, David. 1998. “Nonpartisanship,” pp. 40-63 in Just the Facts: How “Objectivity” Came to Define American Journalism. New York: NYU Press.
- Stone, Lawrence. 1969. “Literacy and Education in England 1640-1900.” Past and Present 42: 69-139 (necessary to read only to p. 102).
9 Mar: Photography: technologies of the image
- Newhall, Beaumont. 1964. “Prints from Paper,” “Portraits for the Million,” and “The Faithful Witness,” pp. 31-58, 67-82 in The History of Photography, From 1839 to the Present Day. New York: Museum of Modern Art.
11 Mar: Advertising
- McKendrick, Neil. 1982. “Josiah Wedgwood and the Commercialization of the Potteries,” pp. 100-145 in McKendrick et al. Birth of a Consumer Society. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
- Klein, Naomi. 2000. part 1 from No Logo
16 Mar: Information as property
- “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned.” Available here
- U.S. Constitution Article 1. Section 8, Clause 8.
- Primary Sources on Copyright, 1450-1900
- Barlow, John Perry. “The Economy of Ideas: Selling Wine without Bottles on the Global Net.”
18 Mar: MIDTERM
Week 10 – No class
30 Mar: Politics and propaganda
- Marlin, Randall, 2002. “History of Propaganda,” pp. 62-94 in Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion, Toronto: Broadview Press.
- Watch the first 10-minute segment of “Divide and Conquer,” one of the “Why We Fight” films that Frank Capra made for the Office of War Information in WWII. (If you want more, there are the other segments on this page.) Watch this brief video on the background of these films.
- Watch the first 7-10 minutes of Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will,” and browse the rest to get the flavor of the rallies — it’s pretty repetitive.
1 Apr: Broadcast
- Czitrom, Daniel J. 1982. “The Ethereal Hearth: American Radio from Wireless through Broadcasting, 1892-1940.” in Media and the American Mind. University of North Carolina Press. Pp. 60-88.
- Gitlin, Todd. 2001. “Supersaturation, Or, The Media Torrent And Disposable Feeling,” Ch. 1 of Media Unlimited, Metropolitan Books. Pp. 12-70.
6 Apr: Advent of the computer
- Campbell-Kelly, Martin & William Aspray. 1996. “‘Babbage’s Dream Comes True,” (pp. 53-104) in Martin Campbell-Kelly & William Aspray, Computer: A History of the Information Machine. New York: Basic Books.
- Menabrea, L.F. 1842. Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage, trans. Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace.
[read the final paragraph before the “Notes by the translator. It begins “Now, admitting that such an engine …” and ends “… such an undertaking.”]
- Babbage, Charles. 1835. “Registering Operations” and “On the Division of Mental Labour,” chapters 8 & 20 in On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures.
- Watch: Englebart, Douglas. 1968. “Doug Englebart 1968 Demo.” On MouseSite.
8 Apr: Information and disasters (Megan Finn, guest lecture)
- Fradkin, Philip L. 2005. “The Culture of Disasters” pp 263-288 in The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906. University of California Press: Berkeley.
- Klinenberg, Eric. 1997. Introduction and Chapter 1. pp 1-36 in Fighting for Air.Metropolitan Books: New York.
13 Apr: Advent of the internet
- Berners-Lee, Tim. 2000. Chapters 1-3, pp. 1-34 in Weaving the Web. New York City: HarperCollins.
15 Apr: Storage and search
- Battelle, John. 2005. Epilogue, pp 281-4 in John Battelle, Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed our Culture. New York: Portfolio/Penguin.
- Bush, Vannevar. 1945. As We May Think , Atlantic Monthly; 176 (1): 101-108
- Search Engine Land, 2009. “Google Now Personalizes Everyone’s Search Results,” Dec. 4.
- NPR, Intelligence Squared Debate, 2008. Did Google Violate Its ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Motto?
20 Apr: Books, newspapers & the future of publications
22 Apr: Social implications of the internet I
- Marshall, Alfred. 1920. “Industrial Organization, Continued. The Concentration of Industries in Particular Localities,” book IV chapter X (section iv.x.1-15), in Principles of Economics. London, Macmillan & Co.
- Cairncross, Frances . 2001. Preface and “Trendspotter’s Guide to New Communications” pp ix – xvii in The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is Changing our Lives. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Available from Google Books
- White, Peter T. 1952 “Behold the Computer Revolution,” National Geographic November
27 Apr: Social implications of the internet II
- Moore, James F. “The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head,” Berkman Center for Internet & Society, March, 2003. Also here.
- Hindman, Matthew. 2007. Voice, Equality, and the Internet” (ms of The Myth of Digital Democracy) Pp. 1-13.
- Nunberg, Geoffrey. 2002. “Will the Internet Always Speak English?” American Prospect, Nov. 30.
- DiMaggio, Paul, Eszter Hargittai, W. Russell Neuman,and John P. Robinson. 2001. “Social Implications of the Internet,” Annual Review of Sociology. 27:307.
29 Apr: Valedictory
FINAL EXAM: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 11:30-2:30