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This subject introduces students to the history of the book and its relationship to changing reading practices. It will focus specifically on the changing technologies and aesthetics of book production, the relationships between reading and other cultural practices, the changing roles of publishers, booksellers and authors, the evolution of libraries as repositories and gatekeepers of approved knowledge, and the role of government in establishing a legislative framework to regulate the book trade.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should have:
- developed awareness of the long history of the book and its role in the construction of Western concepts of textual authority;
- ability to understand the relationship between the form of the book and the social distribution of literacy; and
- been encouraged to form a critical analysis of the iconic status ascribed to the book in Western culture.
At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:
- capacity for effective teamwork through group discussions and peer review;
- cultural and ethical understanding through reflection on the role of books and reading in a range of historical and cultural contexts;
- skills in research through the preparation of class papers and assignments, including the use of online and print-based materials;
- skills in time management and planning through managing workloads for recommended reading, tutorial presentations and assessment requirements;
- a capacity for critical thinking through the use of readings, and discussion to develop a critique of received wisdom about the cultural, social and political significance of the book; and
- high-level written and oral communication skills through contribution to class discussions and the completion of assignments.
Last updated: 2 December 2019