Skip to main content

Book history is the study of the many forms in which human knowledge has been produced and consumed. Despite its name, book history’s methods extend to sociology, literary criticism, archaeology, and library and information science, and its remit extends beyond books, to newspapers, and manuscripts, and sound recording, and by some definitions everything from tattoos to texts.

Book-historical tools helped define the digital humanities because they place the media revolutions of our own lifetime within a longer comparative context. And book-historical debates inform every text-based discipline – meaning most of the humanities and some of the social sciences – because they help scholars think about the objects through which we know the world, and about the genealogy of the practices through which we ourselves read, criticize, categorize and transmit them.