Print Culture and Publication
From Gutenberg to Google Books, from the public sphere to the “proto-book” dissertation, the diverse legacies and uncertain futures of print culture touch all of us. This course serves as a graduate-level introduction to the study of print culture – a.k.a. “the history of the book” – in a comparative, cross-historical, and interdisciplinary frame. Beginning with the field’s origins in Anglo-American bibliography and European cultural history, we will move through the foundational accounts of print-modernity in works by Elizabeth Eisenstein, Jurgen Habermas, and Benedict Anderson to the revisionist, capacious print cultures of historians such as Adrian Johns, literary and media scholars such as Lisa Gitelman, and ethnographers such as Janice Radway. Topics of interest will include the materiality of the book and its shaping effects on literature and language; the historical “revolutions” of the hand press, the industrial press, and digital text technology; national and transnational print networks; periodicals and ephemera; authorship, intellectual property, and piracy; and academic publishing in a post-book age. This class will double as a primer on archival research methods and will incorporate guidance on funding opportunities through libraries and archives. In this winter’s offering, students will have the chance to interact with three distinguished scholars in the field who are visiting UW as part of the Histories and Futures of Reading speaker series co-sponsored by the Simpson Center and the Textual Studies Program: Christina Lupton (Warwick), author of Knowing Books: The Consciousness of Mediation in Eighteenth-Century Britain; Jerome McGann (Virginia), author most recently of The New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction, and Priya Joshi (Temple), author of In Another Country: Colonialism, Culture, and the English Novel in India.
Co-taught by Jeffrey Todd Knight (English) and Geoffrey Turnovsky (French & Italian). Course credit will count towards the Textual Studies degree track and the Textual and Digital Studies certificate now in the proposal stages.