Symposium: When information came of age: the past, present and future of the information society – University of Copenhagen

Symposium: When information came of age: the past, present and future of the information society

20th of April 2016, 9:00-16:00.

The symposium is followed by a workshop on April 21st for contributors to a special issue of temp about the history of the information society.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the information society fundamentally changed our ways of communicating, shopping and living. Basic structures of society seem to change and well-known media and other institutions become superfluous. At the very heart of our information society we find different conceptions of information technology, including the overarching concept of information itself.  

The term ‘information technology’ is often embedded in a view of information that is closely related to computing.  The history of this concept is; however, much broader with traces back to the Middle Ages.  When this history is neglected, information is simply tied to a post-1945 modern society, and thus appears to be an impoverished, diffuse, or even ahistorical concept.  This symposium will therefore gather diverse types of researchers in order to challenge this fundamentally ahistorical understanding, and challenge restricted notions about the information age.

The symposium takes place at the Royal School of Library and Information Science, UCPH.

Important topics

How can issues of the present information society provide new questions to past societies and thus create new historical insights? And, how can these insights challenge prevailing conceptions of the information age?

How can we investigate the modern information society (from the 1960’s onwards)? What has changed and how? Which processes, concepts and institutions have gained other and new meanings?

How does the increasing digitization of historical material change the conditions for historical work and research? What are the consequences for future historical research when the internet of the last 20 years has been the stage for a large part of everyday activity? How do we archive this activity on the internet?

International key-notes

Dr. Mark Towsey, senior lecturer at University of Liverpool, UK. TBA

Professor Sven Dupré is Chair of History of Art, Science and Technology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. The title of his presentation is: The role of the arts in the making of an early modern knowledge society.

Professor Jane Winters is professor in Digital History at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), UK. The title of her presentation is: Working with the archived web and born-digital big data – challenges and opportunities.

Dr. Daniela Zetti is an associated member of the center “History of Knowledge” (ZGW; ETH and University Zurich), Switzerland. The title of her presentation is: Digitization and historical narratives