HIST-LIT 90EC: A Cultural History of the Internet





Instructor: Briana Smith
Meeting time: Thursday, 3:00 - 5:45

A Cultural History of the InternetThis course introduces students to the hippies, hobbyists, hackers, cyberspace explorers, and Second Lifers who embraced digital networks as a means to transcend geographic limitations and connect humans in virtual communities online since the late 1960s. We will also examine how corporate and government entities responded to the digital utopian ethos of egalitarianism, communalism, and anarchy. We will explore this history against the backdrop of the late Cold War, the Reagan era, neoliberalism and globalization, Y2K, 9/11, the 2008 global financial crisis, and 2020, and through the lens of race, gender, class, and subculture. Film, music, art, archived websites, memoirs, manifestos, fiction, and non-fiction will shed light on the ways popular culture shaped and was shaped by the rise of networked computing. While course materials are primarily rooted in the United States, we will consider both transnational connections as well as attempts to forge supranational networks in cyberspace.