Media History and Theory: History of Writing Technologies

Course Number: ENGL 147WT
Prerequisites: Check on GOLD
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 147AA-ZZ
Quarter: Winter 2015
Day(s): TR
Time: 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
Location: GIRV 1115

This course investigates modes of textual production and circulation from Plato through the invention of printing and today’s digital moment. How have the technologies of the pen, the press, the postal system, the telegraph, and the computer affected concepts of communication? How can we best understand the ways these technologies successively interact with one another? And how have literary works responded to such developments? Readings will incorporate both historical discussions of writing practices and key secondary texts on the history of books, printing, and media. Through our readings and class discussions, we will see that contemporary conversations about the effects of new media are not specific to the digital age, and we will identify recurrent patterns in responses to new writing technologies in history.