Past Courses on The Book

Past Courses

Archive: Past Courses in the History and Art of The Book

We are interested in expanding this list. Please contact us below if you know of a previous course on the subject of The Book that you would like to see featured here.

Bookish: Beyond Text and Image


How does being bound up in a book change how we interact with an image? What do comics have to do with medieval manuscripts? What are books, anyway? To what extent does the medium really affect the message?

In this course, we will analyze multimodal texts that combine written and visual expressions, focusing on books and bookish objects: medieval manuscripts, children’s books, comics and graphic novels, artists’ books, and even a variety of digital “books.” Students will engage with foundational theories of looking and reading, developing the ability to describe how an object informs the reception of the images and written texts it transmits. We will work directly with objects in special collections across campus and students will put their knowledge and experiences into practice with a final project that, at their choice, can take the form of a research paper, a "visual argument," or the creation of their own bookish object.

Medieval Manuscripts


The medieval manuscript is a witness to unique versions of texts, a cultural artifact with an idiosyncratic logic and unique history. This seminar initiates students in the main fields of manuscript studies (paleography and codicology) as well as early book history and textual scholarship. Our approach privileges hands-on experiences in the Lilly Library, but prepares students for archival work of all kinds. Exercises offer students the opportunity to confront and manipulate manuscripts in person and via cutting edge digital viewers and transcription/annotation tools. Course readings and activities examine the medieval book in its own right, as well as considering books as cultural objects and bringing books into dialogue with current theory, including animal studies, environmental studies and ecocriticism, object-oriented ontology, gender studies, and digital humanities. We will focus predominantly on manuscripts produced in the Latin West, with comparative discussion of contemporary Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, and Ethiopic materials. Our work will also concern mainly the manuscript codex, though some attention will also be paid to manuscript texts in other formats. Fluent reading knowledge of Latin is not necessary but basic knowledge of Latin is strongly recommended. Students are encouraged and expected to collaborate and share their language expertise.

Have you taught a course on The Book?

We'd love to learn about it! Tell us about your course, and we will add it to our archive of courses on Book History and Book Arts that have been taught at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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