Programs > Academic Programs > History of the Book

2009 Summer Seminar in the History of the Book

Book History and Media History

Monday, June 22- Friday, June 26, 2009

American Telephone and 
Telegraph What does it mean to study book history in the digital age? Does it matter that nineteenth-century printed texts are today increasingly encountered as digital images and searchable data, courtesy of vendors such as ProQuest, Readex, EBSCO, and Google? This seminar, which will be led by Lisa Gitelman and Meredith McGill, will explore points of contact between book history and media history. Focusing on the efflorescence of popular print in the period from 1830 to 1870, our aim will be to improve our understanding of the circulation of culture under conditions of social and technological change.

This seminar takes advantage of the American Antiquarian Society's unparalleled collection of nineteenth-century print materials as well as its leading role in the creation of a range of online archives as well as other tools, old and new, for the study of American imprints, newspapers, government documents, and printed ephemera. Readings, discussions, and workshops should be of interest to scholars at all levels and in all fields of American history and literature.

The seminar addresses issues in comparative media studies that are particularly germane to book history, such as:

Seminar members will be introduced to the American Antiquarian Society's collections, will participate in hands-on archival investigations, and will discuss readings drawn from recent work in both media studies and book history.


The tuition for the seminar is $750. A limited amount of financial aid is available. Preference for assistance will be given to first-time AAS summer seminar attendees.


The deadline for applications has passed.


A block of rooms, at the reduced rate of $119 per night, are available at the Worcester Courtyard by Marriott, 72 Grove Street, Worcester, MA 01605.

Reservations must be made by May 29, 2009, to receive this rate.

To make a reservation please use the Courtyard Worcester's Summer Seminar page or call 1-508-363-0300 and mention that you are coming in with the American Antiquarian Society "Summer Seminar" group.

About the Faculty

The seminar will be led by Lisa Gitelman and Meredith McGill. Gitelman is Visiting Associate Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University and author of Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture. McGill is Director of the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and author of American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834-53. Guest faculty will include Thomas G. Knoles, Marcus A. McCorison Librarian and Curator of Manuscripts at the AAS.

Contact Information

For more information about the seminar in general and about the seminar program in particular, contact Paul Erickson (perickson[at]; 508-471-2158).


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The deadline for applications has passed.