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.

MP3 Lycos & The Circuit of Culture

In Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman, Paul Du Gay introduces an approach to studying culturally significant topics that is described as the “circuit of culture”: any aspect of culture must be studied through its Consumption, Identity, Regulation, Representation, and Production for its analysis to be considered adequate. Over the last three decades,…

Final Circuit of Culture Project: GeoGuessr

INTRODUCTION: Even though most of us consider maps simply as a navigational tool to get from one place to another, what if maps could be turned into an addicting game? This is what GeoGuessr has accomplished. GeoGuessr is an online geography game that brings adventure and mystery into exploring the world through maps. Players are…

TSN: circuit of culture

Overview In 1984, the Labatt Brewing Company made a breakthrough in the history of the Canadian television network. They began specialty channels in order to focus on a specific genre, subject, or target television market. The Sports Network, more commonly known today as TSN, was a part of the first group of Canadian specialty cable…