• Course Number: ENGL 236
  • Prerequisites:

    Graduate standing.

  • Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 236
  • Quarter: Spring 2022

This course will be taught in the Maker Lab (Music 1404; see map below) in collaboration with Nicole Stark, EMC Fellow. It will also involve guest lectures by Professor Tim Hitchcock (digital history specialist, 18th c.), Dr. Ben Jackson (3D modelling expert), both of the University of Sussex, UK, and Dr. Tyler Shoemaker (DH Fellow at the UC-Davis DataLab & expert on the Linotype printing press).

This course is a theoretical, critical, practical, and experimental exploration into the history and practice of print, including the making of paper (which we will ourselves enact if Harry Reese’s new papermaking lab is up and running), employing varied “typefaces” and different methods of impressing text and images onto different kinds of paper, produced from historical and geographical availability, and delve into the Western European controversial theories and histories of printing. We will soon enact for ourselves the practical processes of printing text and images of all kinds (as well as question the practice of doing so). We will learn and experiment with different typefaces, setting (or “composing”) them on composing sticks—the typeface more typical of the Renaissance up to the Modern period, and we will also experiment with ourselves carving woodcuts as well as employing “metal ornaments” used from the beginning of Western printing. If the class demand is strong, we will also experiment with hand-making ink (which was made from plants, nuts, or even just soot). We will furthermore employ pre-18th century “inking balls” (made by UCSB’s graduate students) to apply the ink as was done well into the 18th century, and we will employ a replica of an early 19th-century Albion pull press (c. 1820), which imitates, though it improves upon, the wooden pull-press “invented” by Johannes Guttenberg (whose plans for the press were kept secret). We will also engage in 3D printing of plastic type and other material plastic ornaments created from 3D modelling, which we will interweave on the bed of the press with our more typical wooden blocks, as well as magnesium printing plates (made from high quality digital images).

In the second half of the course, students will form teams to study the history and practice of a particular kinds of printing practices based on an aesthetic/theoretical/political/generic movement they agree upon (e.g., the history of concrete poetry, postmodernism, newspapers, broadside ballads, street literature, sonnets, Black protest placards, etc). They will then create their own interpretative broadside of their researched practice/aesthetics not just in imitation but in creative innovation that nevertheless reveals essentials elements of their focus (using all the materials we have studied and are at their command to employ). Nicole and I expect a creative printed broadside that illustrates and yet plays upon or goes beyond the original they studied. This is your great chance to get down and dirty and realize your inspirations in print.

The course will include an excursion to the Carson Printing Museum, just south of Los Angeles (https://www.printmuseum.org/tours), which has many working presses of various periods and hopefully, we will also be able to arrange a demonstration of the historically much-used but also much-forgotten the linotype press, in use 1884-1970s (which was a typewriter-cum-printing press that, like a 3D printer. It printed whole lines of type from melted metal, and then remelted the lines after use, or if an error were typed, which was “called out” on the typist realising his her error, by running their fingers across one line of the “typewriter,” creating the nonsensical—but stand-out phrase—”etaoin”).

Graduate students may petition the Graduate Committee to have the course count for an area requirement if it is related to their course project other than the automatic course areas of 238 and 231.

  • Schedule & Location
  • Day(s): thu
  • Time: 1:00 pm–3:30 pm
  • Location: Music 1404