Teaching the History of the Book

Summer Seminar in the History of the Book
Scott Casper
Jeff Groves

How can we move book history from the archive to the classroom? This question will be central to our weeklong seminar. Using autobiographies, recent scholarship, and archival materials drawn from the collections of the American Antiquarian Society, seminar participants will explore how the history of the book can illuminate familiar texts and direct attention to little-known ones. At the same time, we will discuss American book history pedagogy and course design, as well as the integration of book history methods and insights into mainstream literature and history courses. We will consider such practical pedagogical questions as these: What is the role of the archive in studying book history? How can book history be taught at colleges without extensive collections in pre-twentieth-century printed materials? How can an instructor build a teaching collection for hands-on classroom use? What avenues does book history open for original undergraduate as well as graduate-student research? How can book history illuminate the staples of a history or literature syllabus? How can the twentieth century be incorporated into book-history classes? The seminar will include several guest speakers, a field trip to the National Yiddish Book Center, workshops on using databases and bibliographical resources in the history of the book, critical discussions of published book history syllabi, and directed opportunities to design class assignments. The seminar will be informative to a wide range of participants: advanced graduate students; history, literature, and American Studies faculty; academic librarians; and teachers interested in revising or expanding their current book history units or courses.

This seminar is described in the March- July 2000 issue of The Book.

March/July 2000 (50-51) Download the PDF

About the Faculty

Seminar Leaders:
Scott Casper (History, University of Nevada at Reno), Jeffrey D. Groves (Literature, Harvey Mudd College).

Susanna Ashton (English, Clemson University), Ann Fabian (History, Graduate Center, City University of New York), Nicholas Basbanes (author of A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes and the Eternal Passion for Books) and members of the AAS staff

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