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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate understanding of critical issues in the history of information and its contemporary dimensions;
- analyse and discuss the ways in which information has shaped aspects of modern culture and society;
- examine and evaluate research data, theory, and methodology relating to the history of print, information, and communication;
- identify and critically analyse key theoretical and methodological approaches to the history of information.
Indicative AssessmentCritical reflections (4 x 500 words; 10% each) through semester; 2,000 words, 40% (LO 1, 2, 3, 4)
Final essay; 2, 000 words, 50% (1, 2, 3, 4)
Tutorial Participation; 10% (1, 2, 4)
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsWeekly readings will be provided through Wattle.
Preliminary ReadingJames 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)
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