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Ilan Stavans (Section 01)
A thorough, experiential course on the ins and outs of book publishing that includes a history of how books became our preferred channel for the dissemination of knowledge and entertainment and as a tool for political, economic, and cultural change. We will discuss the past, present, and future of the book, how it has mutated from Gutenberg to the digital age, and the challenges book publishing faces in the twenty-first century, not only in the United States but in the global scene. The objective is to study book-making and distribution from a critical eye and to come up with new solutions for book publishing in emerging or postcapitalist economies and for disadvantaged audiences. Strategies for acquiring, editing, publishing, and marketing books in the United States and in the global market will be discussed. Topics include budgeting; foreign and domestic rights; corporate, nonprofit, and academic companies; and collaborations with literary agents, translators, librarians, and booksellers. There will be an assortment of guest speakers. Students will participate in ongoing projects at Restless Books, an independent nonprofit publisher in Brooklyn devoted to contemporary global literature for children and adults and the classics.
This course is part of a model of tutorials at Amherst designed to enable students to engage in substantive research with faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.
Limited to seven students. Open to sophomores and juniors. Spring semester. Professor Stavans.
How to handle overenrollment: will create as diverse a class as possible and will give priority to 2nd- and 3rd-year students
Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Students will engage in critical thinking as well as budgetary and literary planning. They will write and read extensively.