New Media in Britain from the Print Revolution to the Digital Age

History 103B.004

Spring 2018
Section: 
4
Instructor: 
Location: 
3104 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
F 9-11am
Class Number: 
32380
Units: 
4

This course explores the relationship between communication technologies and the long transformation of British society from medieval to modern. From the arrival of the printing press in the 15th century to the proliferation of mass media in the 20th, we will ask how historians approach the study of a medium as both an agent of change and as a product of existing cultures and institutions. How did the increasingly broad and dynamic distribution of texts, speech, and images affect participation in the public sphere, the relationship between popular and elite culture, the rise of an imperial state, and the foundations of modern science? We will also consider the enduring significance of questions that people who lived through these changes asked themselves as they adapted to new communication technologies: How do we deal with information overload? How should we react to fake news? What does it mean for speech to be free?