Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

Lincoln and the Telegraphic Civil War

I’m looking forward to seeing Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012) about the 16th president’s efforts to end slavery and win the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was a complex and troubled corporate lawyer and state senator who found his voice and purpose as he confronted the economic, political and humanitarian challenges of this time. As his drive […]

Transatlantic Telegraphy

While Western Union was consolidating its power over the widespread US market, others dreamed of using the telegraph to connect with other continents. The dream of electronically connecting North American with Europe was held strongest by Cyrus West Field, a Massachusetts entrepreneur. Born sickly in 1819, Field developed a fierce temperament and drove himself intensely. […]

Telegraphy: The Space-Time Governmentality, Part II

This continues the argument started in Part I What Hath God Wrought? It is generally acknowledged that Samuel Morse did not invent the telegraph, but the painter and NYU professor can nevertheless be credited with its rapid development and commercialization. Morse first became enamored with the idea of transmitting “intelligence” by electricity on a transatlantic […]

Telegraphy: The Space-Time Governmentality

By reducing what previously took weeks, to a minute, it (the telegraph) forced the acceleration of methods of obtaining, processing, and codifying information, thus laying the foundation of what decades later was to be called “data processing.” – Moreno Fraginals [1] As argued in Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet, the development of widescale telegraphy was […]

The Web in 1909: E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops”

I first made my first estimation that the World Wide Web was useful when I found this version of E.M. Forster’s short story “The Machine Stops” in 1996. I was teaching at Victoria University in New Zealand and I had recently finished my PhD dissertation on Symbolic Economies and the Politics of Global Cyberspaces. It […]

Common Carrier Law and Net Neutrality

Share Tweet Common Carrier law reflects a business principle that strives to avoid discrimination in a wide range of commercial practices. The idea guided telecommunications regulation since early in the technological development of the telegraph and telephone. With the deregulatory tendencies around data communications, notions of common carriage were pushed aside as the Internet gained […]

Napoleon III and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

Unlike the US experience, the Europeans banded together at the level of the nation-state to guide the expansion of the telegraph. It was France’s Napoleon III who called for the international conference that would lead to the establishment of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). “Its mission was to determine procedures, standards, and common rates between […]

How IT Came to Rule the World, 2.1: Data Technology and Money

Data communication systems moved quickly from military experimentation to commercial exploitation as banks, news agencies, and other corporate actors who were moving branches and factories offshore utilized these new technologies.

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  • About Me

    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

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    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers, past or present.