In 2017, the new journal Internet Histories was founded. As part of the process of defining a new field, the journal editors approached leading scholars in this dynamic, interdisciplinary area. This book is thus a collection of eighteen short thought-provoking pieces, inviting discussion about Internet histories. They raise and suggest current and future issues in the scholarship, as well as exploring the challenges, opportunities, and tensions that underpin the research terrain. The book explores cultural, political, social, economic, and industrial dynamics, all part of a distinctive historiographical and theoretical approach which underpins this emerging field.
The international specialists reflect upon the scholarly scene, laying out the field’s research successes to date, as well as suggest the future possibilities that lie ahead in the field of Internet histories. While the emphasis is on researcher perspectives, interviews with leading luminaries of the Internet’s development are also provided. As histories of the Internet become increasingly important, Internet Histories is a useful roadmap for those contemplating how we can write such works. One cannot write many histories of the 1990s or later without thinking of digital media – and we hope that Internet Histories will be an invaluable resource for such studies. This book was originally published as the first issue of the Internet Histories journal.
Introduction: Internet histories 1. What and where is the Internet? (Re)defining Internet histories 2. Hagiography, revisionism & blasphemy in Internet histories 3. A common language 4. Can we write a cultural history of the Internet? If so, how? 5. Searching for missing "net histories" 6. Out from the PLATO cave: uncovering the pre-Internet history of social computing 7. Internet histories: the view from the design process 8. The Internet as a structure of feeling: 1992–1996 9. Precorporation: or what financialisation can tell us about the histories of the Internet 10. Internet in the Middle East: an asymmetrical model of development 11. The unexplored history of operationalising digital divides: a pilot study 12. Early challenges to multilingualism on the Internet: the case of Han character-based scripts 13. African histories of the Internet 14. Notes from/dev/null 15. Archaeology of the Amsterdam digital city; why digital data are dynamic and should be treated accordingly 16. Doing Web history with the Internet Archive: screencast documentaries 17. Breaking in to the mainstream: demonstrating the value of internet (and web) histories 18. For a dynamic and post-digital history of the Internet: a research agenda 19. Interview