Telecommunications | Topical Seminar in Telecom Technology & Policy
T601 | 23169 | Sawhney, H.


T601:  TOPIC -- ORIGINS OF THE INFORMATION AGE

Tuesdays 5:45-8:15, Spring 2005

Instructor:  Harmeet Sawhney, Dept. of Telecommunications

Course Description:

Today, the term "information age" is commonplace.  We hear about it
in the press, political speeches, popular books, scholarly journals,
and everyday conversations.  However, it was only a few decades ago
that the term first entered our vocabulary.  In this seminar, we
will explore the origins of the information age; both as a concept
and as a phenomenon.  We will start with the earliest writings on
the information age by Machlup, Porat, Bell, and others and work our
way through the literature to the most recent thinking on the
subject.  We will identify important themes which weave through the
literature, unearth the assumptions the authors bring to their work,
and track the changes in our conceptualization of the information
age.  After taking stock of the literature on the information age,
we will try to understand when, where, and how the information age
actually started and what forces are behind the societal
transformations we are currently witnessing.  We will use
Beniger's "The Control Revolution" as a jumping board for our own
theorization about the information age.  Our readings will then
expand beyond the traditional literature on the information age to
those from sociology, political science, history, cultural studies,
business and other disciplines on information, technology, and
coordination and control of human activities.  By the time we are
finished, we will have a good overview of the literature and a
robust theoretical framework for thinking about the information
age.  This framework will enable us to place the latest
technological and policy developments within their proper context
and analyze them in a historically informed way.


Harmeet Sawhney
Associate Professor
Department of Telecommunications