Asian 498B: Print Culture in Asia
Instructors: Prof. Jennifer Dubrow & Prof. Chris Hamm
VLPA, 5 credits
The burgeoning field of “book history” has tended to focus on the history of the book in Western culture, and to premise the revolutionary nature of the invention of movable type. But what does book history look like in other regions of the world? Do other cultural and technological trajectories complicate our perspective on the Gutenberg revolution? What, specifically, can we learn from the rich literary and material cultures of Asia?
This course introduces the multiple print cultures that developed in 19th and 20th century Asia— China, Japan, Korea, and South Asia. We will survey the history of the book in Asia using a comparative frame. Topics covered include manuscript and pre-modern print cultures; technologies such as woodblock and lithography; print capitalism; readerships; serialized fiction and literature; presses, prizes, and publishing houses; periodicals; and the digital present.
This course serves as a core elective for the Graduate Certificate in Textual and Digital Studies. It is intended for advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in textual studies, the history of the book, and print technologies and cultures. No background in Asian languages is required, but students with proficiency in an Asian language will be able to complete a final project using the language of specialty. Assignments will include hands-on work with print texts from Asia; short writing assignments; leading a discussion; and a final project using primary sources.