ENGLISH 184H: Text Technologies: A History (lecture)
Taught by: Elaine Treharne
Fall Quarter, 2012-2013
TTh 3:15-4:45, Room: 240-110
Beginning with cave painting, carving, cuneiform, hieroglyph, and other early textual innovations, this course will survey the history of writing, image, sound, and byte, all text technologies employed to create, communicate and commemorate.
The course will focus on the recording of language, remembrance and ideas explicating significant themes seen throughout history; these include censorship, propaganda, authenticity, apocalypticism, technophobia, reader response, democratization and authority. We shall learn about the production, transmission and reception of tablet technology, the scroll, the manuscript codex and handmade book, the machine-made book, newspapers and ephemera; and we shall investigate the emergence of the phonograph and photograph, film, radio, television and digital multimedia. We’ll examine the impact of these various text technologies on their users, and try to draw out similarities and differences in our cultural and intellectual responses to evolving technologies.
Students will become acquainted with the technologies that made various forms of text possible, but they will also explore the historical, social, and institutional conditions that are both facilitated and reflected by the production of text in its broadest sense. We shall use a number of case studies from each major technology, accompanied by foundational theoretical writings and, on occasion, major literary examples.
This course fulfills the following Major Requirements: