4 Making Connections: The Long Zoom
How will you begin writing your own chapter in the story of the book?
Week Four Preview
Your focus in week 4 should be primarily on searching for and reading sources for your case study project. Assignment 4 prompts you to do some preliminary research and synthesis of your sources to start making connections and building your initial draft.
Fundamentally, all historians of print culture ask how books have shaped knowledge; social, religious, economic, and political institutions; and local and national cultures." (Levy and Mole, The Broadview Introduction to Book History, p. 65)
As you read and search for sources, use the sources you find to help identify a key moment or turning point that you can focus on for your own story about the making of print culture.
Why is this history important today? What is driving the increased interest in the history of the book?
1. Our own moment of transformation—we are on the verge of a big shift to some new kind of digital culture. Suddenly the contrasts with the past are easier to see. We worry about what we might be losing and what we stand to gain as print culture is displaced.
2. Ironically, digitization makes many print books more accessible. Scholars and researchers do not have to travel to remote archives to view historical documents and archive; they can be accessed online.
So in an interesting twist, digital culture threatens to displace print culture, but it also helps to preserve and transmit print culture at the same time.
Over the next two weeks, each of you will write a case study that adds a story or a chapter to our collective understanding of the making of print culture.
You’ve already identified a series of research questions that you want to explore and answer in your case studies. The next step is to begin gathering sources and materials.
Because we are focusing on print culture, we should also focus on the resources of print culture itself to do our research—namely, printed books and scholarly journals. You can certainly use websites and other online sources, but aim to have at least two sources that are books or academic journals. You may access these online, through library databases or ebooks, but they are still basically print culture resources in another form.
Video: Assignment 4
(length: 24 mins)
This video will give you a big head start on Assignment 4. Includes a time-saving tutorial on the UALR library databases, which can be intimidating if you are new to using them.
Assignment 4: Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography
Assignment 4 template (Google Docs)
Assignment 4 is a brief research proposal. Its purpose is to help you further refine your topic and research questions and to identify a few sources that you can use in your research.
Be sure to watch the video for a tutorial on using the UALR library databases, and for information about two specific databases to use. The UALR library subscribes to over 200 databases, so the video will save you a lot of time!
As you search for sources, you will probably find that you need to re-focus your research questions. Often one source will trigger an idea, which narrows your focus, which in turn leads you to another source, and so forth. Use the research process to help you define your topic and research question(s) as you go along.
Note: One of your sources can be readings from the course text, The Broadview Reader in Book History. You can choose one or two selections from that book, if you find things relevant to your topic. Hint: Each essay in the Reader includes a brief editor's headnote that describes the essay--reading those headnotes is a quick way to determine if a particular essay might be useful for your project. You can also use the Howard book as a source if you like.
Post your completed research proposal on the Assignment 4 discussion forum in Blackboard.