Politics involves intense communication, and political communication – now more than ever—depends on technologies and media available to political participants and observers. This course will combine historical and policy-oriented approaches to the question of media technologies and the forms of government they have supported in the long term, as a way to interrogate and enrich students’ perspective on the emerging forms of digital government we will experience in the next generation. The first part of the course will consider how various communications environments have inflected political institutions in the past, asking to what extent information technologies, ancient and modern, enable or constrain political decision making. The second part will turn to our contemporary predicament by engaging with the ways that communications technology has shaped recent government practice in the areas of campaigning, legislative representation, agenda rulemaking, and deliberation. Students may choose either an analytic or a policy approach for their written assignments, which will involve shared case studies as well as active research into the way the media have shaped politics since the Neolithic.