Textuality and Historicity: On the Modern Practice of an Ancient Art

Cultural Studies

GENG-7811.3 Topics in Manuscript, Print, and Digital Cultures: Textuality and Historicity
Winter 2016
Monday 8:30-11:15 AM
Professor Z. Izydorczyk

The goal of this course is to historicize textuality in the digital age by considering it against the backdrop of past writing technologies and the ideologies that informed them. Students will investigate the history of the written text and ways of thinking about writing in order to appreciate the dependence of the written word -- in all its aspects -- both on its past and on its present historical moment. They will gain some insights into the history of writing and attitudes towards it by reading about and reflecting on ancient, medieval, and early modern writing practices and technologies, including writing systems, materials, organization, and book types; scriptoria, libraries, print shops, and publishing industry; notions of authorship, plagiarism, textual criticism, and editing. This broad background will afford students a historical perspective with which to approach and interpret modern forms of textuality, whether in print or digital formats.