> Department of History
AP/HIST4230 6.0A : Technologies of Communication: A History of Reading from the Codex to the Kindle
Term Y : SEMR
Schotte, Margaret E.
Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite
This research seminar explores the history of books and their readers from antiquity to the present. Class is held in York's Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, and includes trips to other area libraries. By studying books as material objects and communication technologies, we will investigate questions of intellectual property, literacy, author and audience, and "the future of the book." Prerequisites: None. Co-requisites: None. Course credit exclusions: AP/WRIT4720 6.0; prior to 2009, AP/HIST 4260 6.00 (FW14 & FW15 only). Priority is given to History Honours majors and minors who have successfully completed at least 84 credits.
- Course Website
Many courses utilize Moodle, York University's course website system. If your course is using Moodle, refer to the image below to access it.
- Expanded Course Description
We are all readers, but we rarely stop to analyze the objects that we read.
Books and digital readers are far more than simply vehicles for transmitting
text. These technologies of communication shape our everyday experience, but
also offer lenses into the past and the future. This course surveys key
scholarship from the ‘history of the book,’ a field that has
something to offer historians of any period.
The class meets in the Clara Thomas Archives, allowing extensive hands-on
access to many rare books and original documents. We will examine everything
from medieval manuscripts and World War memorabilia, to original CBC radio
transcripts, Canadian literary papers, and graphic novels. (Please note:
food and drink are prohibited in the
Archives; if you cannot make it from 11:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m. without eating, this
may not be the class for you!) Over the course of the year, we will go on a
number of field trips during class time, including the Archives of Ontario, U
of T’s Fisher Library, and the Toronto Reference Library.
This course prioritizes writing, with brief weekly reading responses, two
short papers, and a number of assignments that work towards producing
and revising a major research paper. The 15-page Capstone
essay (including proposal, annotated bibliography, and a mandatory draft) can
be on any topic of interest from any time period. Students must make use of a
minimum of one substantial historical primary source and must relate their
research to the history of the book, reading, media, and/or technologies of
- Weighting of Course
Tentative Grade Breakdown/Overview
Participation and Weekly Forum Posts: 20%
Discussion Leader: 10%
Assignment I: Assessing a Digital Archive (3-5 pages): 10%
Assignment II: Reading a Book as Artifact (3-5 pages): 10%
Capstone Essay, including preparatory exercises: 50%
- Additonal Information / Notes
NOTE: Prior to buying
textbooks, students should consult the detailed course outline which will give
the final versions of the weekly syllabus and the detailed breakdown of
assignments with weighting and due dates. The course outline will be
posted in Moodle and discussed on the first day of class.
More information: http://history.laps.yorku.ca/
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