Programs > Academic Programs > History of the Book > 2009 Summer Seminar

American Antiquarian Society
Summer Seminar in the History of the Book Syllabus

Book History and Media History
Monday, June 22- Friday, June 26, 2009

-Seminar Leaders-

Lisa Gitelman, Harvard University
Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers University

-Guest Faculty-

Tom Knoles, Marcus McCorison Librarian and Curator of Manuscripts, AAS

-Prospectus-

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.

-Syllabus-

Sunday, June 21: Welcome and Introductions

4:30-6:00 Welcome and collections overview (Council Room)
6:00-8:00Drinks and dinner (GDH)

Monday, June 22: The Field of Print Media

9:00-10:00 Welcome and introductions (GDH)
10:15-12:00 Seminar 1: Book History and Media History: Field definitions

Required readings:

Robert Darnton, "What is the History of Books?" in The Book History Reader, ed. David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery (London: Routledge, 2003; originally published in 1982).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

William Uricchio, "Historicizing Media in Transition," in Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition, ed. David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Friedrich A. Kittler, "Perspective and the Book," Grey Room 5 (Autumn 2001): 38-53; trans. Sara Ogger.
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Paul Erickson, "Help or Hindrance: The History of the Book and Electronic Media,. in Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition, ed. David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Suggested readings:

Leah Price, "Reading: The State of the Discipline," Book History 7 (2004): 303-20.
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Pat Crain, "New Histories of Literacy," in A Companion to the History of the Book, ed. Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose (New York: Blackwell Publishing, 2007).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

David Nord, "History of Journalism and History of the Book," in Explorations in Communication History, ed. Barbie Zelizer (London: Routledge, 2008).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

12:00-1:15 Lunch
2:30-4:45 Archival experience A: Ballads across media (Council Room)

Required readings:

"Young Beichan," in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, ed. Francis James Child, vol. 1 (Mineola, NY: Dover, 2003; originally published 1882).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Will Straw, "Pathways of Cultural Movement," in Accounting for Culture: Thinking Through Cultural Citizenship, ed. Caroline Andrew, Monica Gattinger, Sharon Jeannotte, and Will Straw (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2005).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Tuesday June 23: Print in the Digital World

9:00-10:30 p.m. Seminar 2: Digital representations of print (GDH)

For this session, please find some of the materials that you saw yesterday afternoon in the Digital Evans. (Access will be provided by AAS). Also, see what you can find in Google Books pertaining to Francis James Child. Bring laptops.

Required readings:

Paul Duguid, " Inheritance or Loss."

John B. Hench, ed., "From Microprint to Megapixels: The Fifty-Year Partnership between Readex and the American Antiquarian Society," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 115:2 (2006): 251-316.
(seminar participants will receive as an AAS offprint)

Katherine Stebbins McCaffrey, " American Originals," Parts 1 and 2 Common-Place 3:3 (April 2003).

Cathy Davidson, " From Moveable Type to Searchable Text," and Jay Fliegelman, "An MRI of Early America," both in "Tales from the Vault" in Common-Place 3:3 (April 2003).

Remmel Nunn, " Crossroads: A New Paradigm for Electronically Researching Primary Source Documents."

10:30-10:45Break
10:45-12:00Discussion continued (GDH)
12:00-12:30Brown bag lunch, and meet to drive to Ipswich
12:30-6:00EBSCO field trip

Wednesday June 24: Media Change in the Nineteenth Century

9:00-10:30 p.m. Seminar 3: New media of the early nineteenth century (GDH)

Required Readings:

Geoff Batchen, "Electricity Made Visible," in New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader, ed. Wendy Hui, Kyong Chun, and Thomas Keenan (New York: Routledge, 2006).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Martha Sandweiss, "'The Spirit Is Wanting': Photography and the Mexican-American War," in Print the Legend: Photography and the American West (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

James W. Carey, "Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph," Prospects 8 (1983): 303-25.
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Selected readings from Charles Allen, ed., Telegraph Cases Decided in the Courts of America, Great Britain, and Ireland (New York, Hurd and Houghton, 1873).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

David Henkin, "Introduction," and "Print in Public, Public in Print: The Rise of the Daily Paper," from City Reading: Written Words and Public Spaces in Antebellum New York (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

John Nerone, "Newswork, Technology, and Cultural Form, 1837-1920," in Explorations in Communication History, ed. Barbie Zelizer (London: Routledge, 2008).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

10:45-12:00Archival Experience B: Currency and the news (Council Room)
12:00-1:15Lunch
1:15-3:15 Discussion continued (GDH)

Required Readings:

Shelley Streeby, "The Story-Paper Empire," in American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Will Straw, "Embedded Memories," in Residual Media, ed. Charles Acland (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

3:30-5:00Research time

Opportunity to consult with curators and work in the archive, or, alternatively, meet with seminar leaders one on one

5:00-8:00Reading Room is open late tonight only

Thursday, June 25: From Print to Data

9:00-10:30 Seminar 4: Knowledge and/as data (GDH)

Required Readings:

Dan Cohen, "From Babel to Knowledge: Data Mining in Large Collections"

Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (London: Verso, 2005).
(seminar participants will receive a paper copy)

John Unsworth, "How Not to Read a Million Books"

Lauren Berlant, "On the Case," Critical Inquiry 33 (Summer 2007): 663-72.
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

10:30-10:45Break
10:45-12:00Discussion continued (GDH)
1:30-2:45 Archival experience C: Nineteenth-century multi-media (GDH)

Bring laptops.

Group 1: Uncle Tom's Cabin, news, and the real
Group 2: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the minstrel stage
Group 3: Uncle Tom's Cabin and visual culture

Required Readings:

Explore Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture

If you have access to the American Periodical Series, browse in The National Era, June 5, 1851-April 1, 1852 (Access will be provided at AAS)

Claire Parfait, "From Inception to Serialization," in The Publishing History of Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852-2002 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

W.T. Lhamon, "Introduction: An Extravagant and Wheeling Stranger," in Jump Jim Crow: Lost Plays, Lyrics, and Street Prose of the First Atlantic Popular Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Jo-Ann Morgan, "Introduction," and "Picturing Uncle Tom with Little Eva: Reproduction as Legacy," in Uncle Tom's Cabin as Visual Culture (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2007).
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Friday, June 26: Final Thoughts

9:00-10:30 p.m. Seminar 5: Pasts and futures

Required Readings:

Robert C. Binkley, "New Tools for Men of Letters," Yale Review 24 (March 1935): 519-37.
Download as a pdf
(for seminar participants; password required)

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, " CommentPress: New (Social) Structures for New (Networked) Texts."

Recommended Reading:

if:book blog

John Willinsky, "Toward the Design of an Open Monograph Press."

10:45-12:00Recap and conclusion
12:00Lunch and goodbye