Medieval Manuscripts & Early Print

Subject 131-423 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

September, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 7 x 2-hour seminars on every Tuesday and Thursday, plus 2 x 5 hour workshop sessions on Saturday 5 September and Saturday 19 September
Total Time Commitment: Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Admission to a postgraduate program, fourth year honours or postgraduate diploma in history (or relevant program) or permission from the subject coordinators.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Charles Francis Zika


Charles Zika

Subject Overview: This interdisciplinary advanced seminar will explore some of the key features and themes of manuscript and print cultures in Central and Western Europe from the 13th to 17th centuries, a time of radical change in communication technology and of major social and cultural transformation. Topics will include different aspects of the production of manuscripts, such as the organization of scriptoria, palaeography and manuscript illumination, the social impact of written records, the formation of literate communities and the relationship of oral and literate culture. Consideration of early modern print will include the technologies of printing and print-making; the emergence of book production, illustrated broadsheets and newssheets; the significance of 'news' and propaganda; the formation of a 'republic of letters' and a 'public sphere'. The seminar will also explore issues of literacy and reading, and will range over a number of different genres such as musical texts, liturgical books and devotional works, humanist writings and classical editions and translations, broadsheets and popular literature. Students will be encouraged to carry out research and develop technical skills by working on specific materials and objects contained in the University of Melbourne Rare Books and Print collections, the State Library of Victoria, the Manuscript Resource Unit at Newman College and the National Gallery of Victoria.
  • identify and understand the key features of manuscript and print cultures in later medieval and early modern Europe
  • understand the ways in which key changes in Western European societies and culture between the 13th and 17th centuries were related to the transition from script to print
  • appreciate the range of ways in which media shapes and impacts on the organization and structure of a society and its culture
Assessment: A research project 5000 words 100% due in first week of examination period
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available at the beginning of semester
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to show an advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area;
  • be able to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the discipline;
  • develop an appreciation of the design, conduct and reporting of original research
Notes: This seminar will be taught intensively starting 3 September.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Ancient and Medieval Studies
Ancient, Medieval && Early Modern Studies
Art History
Art History
Art History
Medieval & Renaissance Studies
Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

Download PDF version.