[HIST 210] History of Communication in Modern Europe
This class provides an introduction to the history of communication in Europe and the European colonial empires, with an emphasis on the period from the eighteenth century to the present.
Over the course of the semester, we will examine the ways in which new media and technologies of communication have influenced modern European cultures, economic structures, and political systems. We will discuss the emergence of a public sphere in the coffee houses of eighteenth-century Europe, and we will trace the history of letter writing in the nineteenth century, before ending the semester with an analysis of the history of internet communication in the past twenty years.
Throughout the semester, we will study the exponential increase in the speed of communication through modern inventions such as the telegraph and the telephone. As we will see, these new technologies significantly reduced the importance of geographical distances in people’s everyday lives, and they allowed European rulers a much more direct and flexible control of their overseas territories.