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(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library. Conducted in English.
Requisite: One course in History of Art, French, Studio Art, History, Anthropology, or related discipline. Permission required for first-year students. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Sigal and Rice.
If Overenrolled: Priority by seniority.