Class Schedule (including report links and reporters’ names)

Introduction: The Interdisciplinary History of the Book

September 3: Course Overview

September 10: What is Book History?

  • Leslie Hawsom, Old Books & New Histories (purchased textbook), 1-40, 46-64, 72-77

Email instructor by today’s date with three choices of oral report topics

Blog on reading or on a significant experience with literacy and technology

Module I:  Orality and Early Writing

September 17: We Are What We Speak

  • Robert Darnton, “Peasants Tell Tales: The Meaning of Mother Goose” (required: pgs 9-10, 14-42, 53-65; the rest is optional) (Bb)
  • Lawrence Levine, “The Meaning of Slave Tales” (Bb)
  • Tricia Rose, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Google Books or WSU e-book), pgs. 62-96
  • Film in class: Printing Transforms Knowledge (part 1)


  1. The Underground Railroad, Quilts & Orality (Stephanie)
  2. Storytelling: the Art of Knowledge
  3. Aaron Shepard’s Storytelling Page (read all of the “Tell a Story!” pages and on the “Inside Story” page, link to “Researching the Folktale” and “The Art of Retelling”) (Stephen)

Blog on readings

September 24: Put it in Writing

  • Roger Chartier, “The Practical Impact of Writing” (Bb)
  • John Noble Wilford, “Who Began Writing? Many Theories, Few Answers” (New York Times)
  • Individualized reading assignment:  All readings can be accessed on Blackboard by Friday 9/18. Be able to explain to your classmates in about five minutes what the main ideas are of the essay you selected (you’ll have a few minutes to confer with your fellow readers before doing so).  This is casual and ungraded, not a formal presentation—there is no written component and you won’t leave your desk.  Handouts with bulleted information, notes or images would be wonderful, but are definitely optional. If you were absent on 9/17 I assigned you to a text.
    1. Alexander Marshack, “The Art and Symbol of Ice Age Man” (Vee, Kellie, Greg)
    2. Eleanor Robson, “The Clay Tablet Book in Sumer, Assyria, and Babylonia” (Anthony, Tahreem, Richard)
    3. Cornelia Roemer, “The Papyrus Roll in Egypt, Greece and Rome” (Ian, Elizabeth, Victoria)
    4. Emile Schrijiver, “The Hebraic Book” (Sarah, Julianne, Irina)
    5. J.S. Edgren, “China” (Troy, Tiffany, Keith)
    6. D. F. McKenzie , “The Sociology of a Text: Orality, Literacy and Print in Early New Zealand” (Michael, Sheila)
    7. Jonathan M. Bloom, “The Spread of Papermaking Across the Islamic Lands” (Scott, Nasryn, Ghyath)
    8. Jonathan M. Bloom, “Paper and Books,” (Tanya, Stephanie, Nancy)
  • Film in class:  The Dead Sea Scrolls


  1. Paper, Leather, Clay and Stone (Ghyath)
  2. Survivor: The History of the Library (Julianne)
  3. The American Museum of Papermaking (focus on the pages under “Collection”)
  4. The Aberdeen Bestiary Project

Blog on readings

Module II: The Press of Literacy

October 1: Manuscript Cultures and the Rise of Reading

  • [catch up on individualized readings, reports and Noble reading from last week]
  • Roger Chartier, “The Practical Impact of Writing” (Bb)
  • Johannes Trithemius, selection from “In Praise of Scribes” (Bb) (click here for a picture of the original)
  • Film in class: Printing Transforms Knowledge (part 2)

Blog on readings

October 8: The Print Revolution


  1. A History of Wood Engraving (Victoria)

Blog on readings

October 15: Literary Technologies, A Case Study

  • David Kastan, Shakespeare and the Book, 1-49 ( Bb)
  • Stallybrass, Chartier, Mowery and Wolfe, “Hamlet’s Tables and the Technologies of Writing in Renaissance England” (Bb)


  1. The Walt Whitman Archive (Keith)
  2. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (Anthony)
  3. Colonization and Print in the Americas (Sarah)

Blog on research paper topic

October 22: Print Economies


  1. Magazine Covers and Cover Lines (Nasryn)
  2. The History of Chinese Bookbinding (Troy)
  3. Victorian Periodicals and the Empire (Elizabeth)

Blog on readings or research sources

October 29: Literacy, Learning, Politics and Power

  • C. H. Knoblauch, “Literacy and the Politics of Education” (Bb)
  • Patricia Crain, “New Histories of Literacy” (Bb)
  • John Buschman, “Information Literacy, ‘New’ Literacies, and Literacy” (Bb)
  • Film in class: Helvetica


  1. Books Go to War: Armed Services Editions in WWII (Irina)

Blog:  formal research paper prospectus and preliminary bibliography

November 5: Histories and Literacies

  • E. Jennifer Monaghan, “Literacy Instruction and Gender in Colonial New England” (Bb)
  • Dana Nelson Salvino, “The Word in Black and White” (Bb)
  • Louis Menand, “Cat People” (New Yorker)


  1. Nineteenth-Century American Children & What They Read (Tahreem)

Blog on readings or research sources

Module III: Digital Culture & the New Literacy Mash-up

November 12:  The End of the Book?


  1. The Future of Reading” (Michel)
  2. How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write ” & “How the Kindle Will Change the World” (Tanaz)
  3. Is it a Book?
  4. The Center for Book Arts exhibition on “Book Arts in the USA”

Blog on readings or research sources

Research paper outline, sketch or map due by EMAIL

November 19: Literacy 2.0


  1. Old Thinking Permeates Major Journalism School” & “NYU Professor Stifles Blogging, Twittering by Journalism Student” & “Some Dubious Links for PBS.org” (start at the subhead that says “The Unidentified ‘Embedded’ Blogger”) (Vee)
  2. Wikipedia and Women
  3. Twitter Literacy, The Twitter Experiment at UT Dallas and video (Tiffany)
  4. Teaching English in Second Life

Blog on readings or research sources

November 26

No class.  Enjoy your holiday.

December 3: Gaming Literacy


  1. Computers in Education: A Brief History (Kellie)
  2. An Alternative View on Why, When and How Computers Should Be Used in Education (Sheila)
  3. Game Master” & Gaming: 2012 video (on Spore) (Ian)
  4. GAM3R 7H3ORY (read, at a minimum, “About this Project” and the entire section AGONY)

Research paper draft uploaded on Google Documents (see “Getting Started with Google Docs” for instructions

December 10: Course Wrap Up


  1. “Borges, The Library of Babel and the Internet”
  2. “Is the Internet the Harbinger of Orwell’s Nightmares?” and “Orwellian Indeed” (Scott)

Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) administered

Comment on at least three classmates’ papers

December 17

Final revisions due. Have a great winter break!


One comment

  1. […] Maruka & HotBook, Class Schedule: History of the Book: Literacy, Technology, Culture Get a whole semester’s worth of reading on reading! Some fascinating links to understanding books […]

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