For more than half a millennium, people have been informed and influenced by print, sometimes for common purposes, sometimes for different purposes. In recent years scholars around the world from a variety of academic disciplines who study this phenomenon have begun calling it “book history” or “print culture history.” Primarily, they want to know how print–one of humankind’s major means of communicating–has historically been available to and appropriated by diverse societies and cultures.
Since 1980 the field has generated a sizable literature, and with the establishment of this Ph.D. minor in 1998, the study of print culture history has found an institutional home within the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s curricular structure. The Ph.D. Minor in Print Culture History gives graduate students opportunities to design a curriculum around the historical study and sociology of books and print culture within their general Ph.D. studies. The Program particularly encourages students to do original archival and special collections work in the extensive relevant holdings of the library systems of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Like the study of print culture itself, the Minor is intentionally flexible. Students are required to take a minimum of twelve credits in courses whose subjects in some way address print culture, book history or related topics. Related topics may range from the history of mass communications, cartography, literature, education, consumer movements, and library and information studies, to subjects dealing with gender, race, age, social class, and sexual orientation.Within the twelve credit Minor, students are required to take at least three credits of seminar studies. LIS 650: History of Books and Print Culture is highly recommended for three of the twelve credits toward the minor.
To determine if a course is eligible, please contact the Print Culture PhD Minor Director, Jonathan Senchyne, senchyne at wisc.edu
Inquiries and Admission
The Ph.D. Minor in Print Culture History is an interdisciplinary program functioning under the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School’s Option A rules. To qualify, students will need written approval from their major advisor and from the Print Culture Minor Ph.D. Director, Dr. Jonathan Senchyne, senchyne at wisc.edu.