This graduate seminar explores the emergence and widespread adoption in the early Cold War-period of a set of interrelated tools, techniques, and discourses organized around the concept of “information.” These emerging information science included not only new disciplines such as cybernetics, information theory, operations research, and ecology, but also some traditional physical sciences – such as biology and chemistry – as well as a broad range of social sciences, including economics, political science, sociology, and urban planning. The focus of the course will be on tracing the important structural changes in post-war science that encouraged the adoption of the rhetoric of information (if not its substance), as well as on extending the relevance of these developments to a wide range of topics in the history of science, medicine, and technology.

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