This course explores the history of information and associated technologies, uncovering why we think of ours as “the information age.” We will select moments in the evolution of production, recording, and storage from the earliest writing systems to the world of Short Message Service (SMS) and blogs. In every instance, we’ll be concerned with both what and when and how and why, focusing on the cultural, institutional, political, and technological changes that make up a history of information.
Throughout, we’ll keep returning to the some key questions such as: What constitutes the Information Age? What do we mean by technological determinism? What is the relationship between technological, social, and cultural change? What is the relationship between current information practices and technologies and those that have preceded today’s societies and cultures?