Certain new technologies are greeted with claims that, for good or ill, they must transform our society. The two most recent: the computer and the Internet. But the series of social, economic, and technological developments that underlie what is often called the "Information Revolution" include much more than just the computer. In this course, we explore the history of informtion technology and its role in contemporary society. We will explore both the technologies themselves--from telephones to computers to video games--as well as their larger social, economic and political context. To understand the roots of these ideas we look at the pre-history of the comptuer, at the idea of the "post industrial" or "information society," at parallels with earlier technolgies and at broad currents in the development of American society.