COMP 280
History of the Book Fall 2014
Division I
Cross-listed CLAS 200 / REL 260 / HIST 392 / ASST 200 / COMP 280 / ASIA 200
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

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.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1378
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, short written assignments, and a final project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: none
Unit Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under CLAS or COMP ; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under ASST, HIST or REL
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
CLAS 200 Division I REL 260 Division I HIST 392 Division I ASST 200 Division I COMP 280 Division I ASIA 200 Division I
Attributes: HIST Group G Electives - Global History

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