Leah Price: 359:460: Topics in Media Theory: Cunneiform to Twitter (Spring 2020; undergraduate)
What is a book? How do you make one? Who has the power to decide how printed matter is stored, sold, lent, and pulped – and how have those decisions evolved over the past three centuries? This seminar will explore the history and future of reading through four activities:
1. Readings: a long and gripping 18th-century novel, Pamela, narrated by a newly literate servant corresponding with and about a more powerful master; an early-20th-century play, Pygmalion, that grapples with the effects of new audio-recording technologies on dueling voices of different regions, social classes, and genders; and selected shorter 21st-century essays and stories.
2. Writing exercises: a weekly notebook; a class blog; analytical assignments in close reading; creative writing assignments in pastiche and parody.
3. Group exercises in bookmaking. Over the course of the semester, we will make paper; print a page; design a zine; and record an audiobook. No technical or artistic background is required, only an open mind.
4. Field trips: to a library, a printing press, a makerspace, a warehouse, and a theater.
Meets [WCr] requirement.
Leah Price: 350:508 – Methods in History of Books & Reading (Fall 2019; graduate)
This seminar will introduce students to methods and debates in the history of the book and of reading. Issues will include material bibliography; competing models of authorship, printing, and reading; changing practices in the production, circulation and use of the printed word
Broaden your repertoire of methods for interpreting texts and analyzing material culture
Identify areas of interest for dissertation research, and situate those interests within theoretical and historiographical debates
Develop the ability to break a research project into stages, to identify tools needed to pursue each, and to plan the most efficient way to acquire them.
Familiarize yourself with library resources on campus and beyond
Practice constructing arguments and marshaling primary & secondary texts to support your claims
Gain practice in presenting your research to scholars in other time/place fields