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Between about 1870 and 1945, for visionaries and planners around the world, projects for assembling universal knowledge and projects for effecting a universal political order went hand-in-hand. This symposium investigated the development of intertwining utopianisms in internationalist politics and in the science of information during this period. This span of years stretches from the onset of modern war, in America and Western Europe, to its most horrific climax in World War II. It is also the period during which global transportation and communications systems were constructed, the modern global economy was knit together, and both scientific and humanistic scholarship became a professional and global enterprise. Such developments made the collection and sharing of information and the establishment of accord among nation-states especially urgent, the stuff of utopian speculation, pacifist dreams, and, sometimes, pragmatic nightmares. For more information about the symposium, visit the event homepage.

The symposium was made possible by the generous support of University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Thomas Sovereign Gates Library Lecture Fund, the Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with the support of the US Department of Education Title VI grant, and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Browse the contents of The Science of Information, 1870-1945: The Universalization of Knowledge in a Utopian Age:

Symposium Sessions