History of Books and Reading

Subject PUBL90007 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2
Total Time Commitment: 120
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: None


Dr Mark Davis


Mark Davis

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to the history of the book and its relationship to changing reading practices. It will focus specifically on the changing technologies and aesthetics of book production, the relationships between reading and other cultural practices, the changing roles of publishers, booksellers and authors, the evolution of libraries as repositories and gatekeepers of approved knowledge, and the role of government in establishing a legislative framework to regulate the book trade.

  • have developed awareness of the long history of the book and its role in the construction of Western concepts of textual authority;
  • be able to understand the relationship between the form of the book and the social distribution of literacy; and
  • have been encouraged to form a critical analysis of the iconic status ascribed to the book in Western culture.
Assessment: Each student is required to prepare a research proposal of 1000 words, 20% (due early in the semester), and an essay of 4000 words, 80% (due at the end of the semester).
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • acquire a capacity for effective teamwork through group discussions and peer review;
  • acquire and develop a cultural and ethical understanding through reflection on the role of books and reading in a range of historical and cultural contexts;
  • acquire skills in research through the preparation of class papers and assignments, including the use of online and print-based materials;
  • acquire skills in time management and planning through managing workloads for recommended reading, tutorial presentations and assessment requirements;
  • acquire a capacity for critical thinking through the use of readings, and discussion to develop a critique of received wisdom about the cultural, social and political significance of the book; and
  • acquire a high-level written and oral communication skills through contribution to class discussions and the completion of assignments.
Notes: This subject is only available to students enrolled in the Publishing and Communications program, Media and Communication honours or MA programs. Students enrolled in other cognate postgraduate programs may seek approval from the course coordinator.
Related Course(s): Master of Arts Management
Master of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing
Master of Publishing and Communications

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