COMP 280 Fall 2014 History of the Book

Cross Listed as REL260, CLAS200, ASST200, HIST392
From ancient clay tablets, bamboo strips, and papyrus rolls to modern hardbacks, paperbacks, and e-readers, no object has so broadly and deeply represented the capacity for humans to create, preserve, and transmit knowledge, information, and ideas as the book. Books have been worshiped and condemned, circulated and censored, collected and destroyed. From works of art to ephemeral trash, they have been public and private, sacred and profane, magical and commonplace. Likewise, notions of the book have influenced every subsequent form of communication and transmission, whether we are browsing film and song "libraries" or "scrolling" down "pages" on the web. This course will explore aspects of the material, social, cultural, and intellectual history of the book, from the invention of the earliest writing systems through the modern development of digital media. Our inquiry will span the globe and the millennia, but we will pay special attention to the ancient and medieval Chinese, Greek, and Latin traditions and their enduring influence in the modern world. Topics will include orality and literacy, manuscript production, the invention and spread of printing, typography, reading culture, notions of authorship, libraries and collections, censorship, and the digital book. Through a variety of readings, hands-on exercises, and interactions with our abundant library resources, we will investigate how the changing form and function of the book interact across its long and diverse history. All readings are in translation.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, short written assignments, and a final project
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Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: none
Department Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under CLAS or COMP ; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under ASST, HIST or REL
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Distribution Notes:
Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: HIST Group G Electives - Premodern
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 1378
COMP 280 - 01 (F) SEM History of the Book Division 1: Languages and the Arts Edan Dekel
, Christopher M. B. Nugent
TF 1:10 PM-2:25 PM Steson Mabie Room W 1:10 PM-2:00 PM 1378
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