ENGL 397 A1: History of the Book

K. Smitka

Book history, which is a branch of the larger discipline of media studies, shifts attention away from cultural content, and towards how this content moves through the world. In this class we will take ‘the history of the book’ to encompass a range of objects, including pamphlets, manuscripts, periodicals, printed books, and electronic books. We will examine everything from hand-crafted luxury items to mass-produced consumer objects. All the while, we will attend to the materiality of these objects—including how books are made and how books circulate—with the goal of reflecting on the relationship between the production of books and the production of culture. While we will cover a large range of historical moments and geographical locations, the course will end with Canadian- and Edmonton-specific content.