• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Humanities
  • Areas of interest Digital Humanities

The digital age is changing our interaction with information profoundly. The printed book and newspaper is under threat, the publishing industry is undergoing significant change, and issues surrounding information, such as freedom of information, copyright, and intellectual property, and the very ways in which we read, write, understand, and communicate are being debated and reconsidered. This course seeks to place these debates in historical perspective by exploring the history of information in the modern age. A history of information and an examination of issues surrounding information transmission and use will equip students to think critically and creatively about information and knowledge in contemporary life. The course will draw on a variety of disciplines and methodologies, thereby introducing students to issues in print history, communication and media studies, and information studies.  Specific topics that will be studied include: the impact of the ‘print revolution’; information and empire; the development of the publishing industry and how it shapes knowledge; information wars and propaganda; and the development of the Internet and its impact on information, knowledge, and communication.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of critical issues in the history of information and its contemporary dimensions;
  2. analyse and discuss at an advanced level the ways in which information has shaped aspects of modern culture and society;
  3. examine and critically evaluate research data, theory, and methodology relating to the history of print, information, and communication;
  4. identify and critically analyse at an advanced level key theoretical and methodological approaches to the history of information
  5. Design and produce a major research project demonstrating understanding of theory, method and research in the history of information.

Indicative Assessment

Critical reflections (4 x 750 words; 10% each) throughout the semester; 3,000 words, 40% (LO 1, 2, 3, 4)
Final essay; 3000 words, 50% (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Tutorial Participation; 10% (1, 2, 4)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


1 x 2 hour lecture, and 1 x 1 hour tutorial a week for 13 weeks. Students are expect to commit a further 7 hours of independent study per teaching week (total 130 hours).

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed HUMN2002

Prescribed Texts

Weekly readings will be provided through Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

James Gleick, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood

Martyn Lyons, A History of Reading and Writing in the Western World, Palgrave, 2010.

Jeremy Black, The Power of Knowledge: How Information and Technology Made the Modern World (2014)

Toni Weller (ed.) Information History in the Modern World: Histories of the Information Age (2011)


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3054
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4469 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person N/A

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