This is the project site for the Cultural History of the Internet course at Johns Hopkins University.

A collective project, it takes a critical approach to internet history, considering a wide spectrum of cultural practices involved in web services and apps, while exploring questions of access and algorithmic bias. It takes an interest in not only the common narratives of innovation, extending from the military infrastructure of ARPANET to the nineties dot-com boom to the emerging internet of things, but also the host of dead ends and lost sites, net ephemera, and once thriving web cultures that risk being forgotten.

The course’s guiding framework is the circuit of culture approach developed by du Gay et al. (1997), which emphasizes the role of meaning in the creation of cultural commodities and outlines five interconnected areas for analyzing any cultural object: “how it is represented, what social identities are associated with it, how it is produced and consumed, and what mechanisms regulate its distribution and use” (3). Significantly, it is an approach that developed in the same cultural moment as the internet was coming into everyday life and might itself be seen as an artifact of that moment.

Taught by Kyle Stine.

Robotics Age: The 1984 Heath Educational Systems

Robotics Age Magazine was published from 1979 to 1986 and covered topics related to robots, vintage computers, and other relevant subjects. There was also a primary focus on future technology, some of which still hasn’t been developed today. This magazine gave readers an informational view of the world, showcasing patents, interviews, and new products. There…

Biggles – The Untold Story

Biggles – The Untold Story is an early computer game released during the success of its counterpart the Biggles movie that followed the life of a WWI British fighter pilot. It was initially developed for the Commodore 64, the highest-selling single computer model of all time according to history-computer. The magazine advertisement takes place inside…

Elon Musk’s “Blastar” for the Spectravideo – PC and Office Technology

The first thing that needs to be addressed when looking at this advertisement is that it simply isn’t eye-catching. There are no flashy designs, bright colors or standout graphics that stand out to the reader. In fact, the entire advert is simply black and white with basic geometric designs and is dominated by technical writing.…