[Air-l] history of Internet Studies?

Nancy Baym nbaym at ku.edu
Sun Feb 12 19:38:44 PST 2006

>And, it might be worth looking at the special issue Nancy Baym 
>edited for The Information Society sometime in the Fall. It might 
>help with the "discipline or not, that is the question" question.

Here is the URL for the abstracts from that special issue. There is 
not anything in there that addresses 'history' per se. But the 
consensus from the pieces as a whole is that it is not a discipline, 
and that 'internet studies' may not be the right name for whatever it 
is, so it certainly problematizes the question being asked by Norm's 


I will say that when I first went on the job market with an internet 
studies dissertation in 1994, very few people doing the hiring (in 
Communication) had any clue what I was doing or how it could possibly 
fit into their departments even if when thought it was very 
interesting. By 1996-1997 or so, job ads were starting to appear in 
Communication specifically looking for someone who did 
"computer-mediated communication" or communication and new 
technology. Over the next few years, the CMC term pretty much 
disappeared and new technologies, new media, information technology 
and other such monikers became very common. This is just one field, 
of course, and is quite different from the question of the creation 
of new majors, centers, etc, but is probably indicative that the 
emergence of something like a 'field' rather than isolated positions 
here and there was a late 90s phenomenon, although work was certainly 
being done prior to then.


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