An examination of the historical development of American media and communications from the eighteenth century to the present. The course focuses on the business and political factors that underlay the production and circulation of information throughout American history, how Americans consumed information, and the effect it had on historical events and cultural trends. Topics covered may include: debates about the role of partisanship and objectivity in the press; the creation and operation of the post office; the rise of corporate media; and the effect of new technologies—such as the railroad, the telegraph, the television, and the internet—on American life.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- Trace the development of various forms of media and communications in American history
- Analyze the impact of the shifting forms of media and communications on American society and culture
- Write short-form argumentative essays for a public audience
- Compare and contrast approaches to the field of communications and media history
- Explain how individual historians have contributed to historiographic debates about the history of media and communications