The book is a tool, technology, medium, and art form. We often forget to think about books as such, or teach our students to think critically and historically about them. Yet, teaching the history of the book can empower students to see other– and especially digital– technologies differently, to recognize their complex histories of development, use, politics, and symbolism.
The History of the Book is a robust scholarly field.
The following resources are taken from book history classes offered here at SDSU.
- Slide-deck for lecture on book history (created by Jessica Pressman). Download for PowerPoint or for Keynote.
- Syllabus for graduate Book History course (Eng 604b, Spring 2016, Jessica Pressman)
- Syllabus for undergraduate “The Book in the Digital Age” course (ENG 563, Fall 2015, Jessica Pressman)
Sample Student Projects & Assignment:
- Student Book Art
Assignment: This course culminates in a project that will allow you to practice creative criticism. You will showcase your learning by focusing on one topic, question, or text from the course and develop an argument about it that can be presented in a creative and media-specific way. You might create an artwork made from paper, a work of bookart, a stop-animation video, a biography of a particular manuscript or collection of materials from SDSU’s Special Collections archives, or a full-blown web-based essay.
-Your project must include an essay that is 8 pages (double-spaced) and which contains an argument (a thesis) and uses at least two texts from our class, not including the text you discussed in your midterm essay.
-Your grade will be in part based upon how well the format of your project supports the argument you present.
– If you create a work of art, you MUST include an explanatory essay that presents your argument through the art and situates your argument along with the texts from the course that inspired it. The essay should be turned in along with the artwork.
- SF Books’ “The Evolution of the Book” a timeline
- The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe
- A History of Visual Communication by Elif Ayiter