61 minutes | Jul 20th 2020

Origins of the Internet (with Charlton McIlwain and Fred Turner)

Where did the internet come from? Who gets left out of dominant stories about its origins? And what can history teach us about how to make the internet better?


In our first episode, two leading scholars of internet history—Charlton McIlwain of NYU and Fred Turner of Stanford—delve into the stories you might not have heard about where the technology came from. Yes, DARPA and IBM played formative roles, but what about back-to-the-land hippies in the 1960s, or a sprawling network of African American engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts who helped develop and popularize the web? And how did major decisions about the early internet’s design and usage lead to some of its problems today?


Visit www.publicbooks.org/podcast for more information about our guests, the texts and scholars mentioned in this episode, and a list of further reading on the topic, curated by our guests.

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