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The history of the information age is about more than just the electronic digital computer. It is the story of a wide range of human activities, scientific practices, and technological developments. The story begins in the early 19th century with the emergence of new demands for communications and information management — from scientific researchers, expanding government bureaucracies, and increasingly national and international corporations. It includes not only “computers’’ (itself a large and diverse category) but data processing, communications, and visualization technologies, as well as people, practices, and organizational structures. In this new graduate seminar, we will explore the history of computing and communications in all of its forms and varieties. We will situate the computer in the broader history of technology, but also consider it from the perspectives of the history of science, labor history, and social history.

Download the syllabus.