pic1 pic2 pic3 pic4 pic5 pic6 pic7 pic8 pic9 pic10

Studying Book History at Oxford Brookes University

Details about the MA in Book History and Publishing Culture are available here.


See the new online student journal: The Journal of Publishing Culture

Read some comments about the course from our students

'All in all it's been a great experience - the best of all possible worlds you might say.'

'...I have been given complete freedom to explore my own interests within the subject...'

'The course leader and visiting lecturers are highly knowledgably, very supportive and full of enthusiasm for the subject'

'I was really excited when I realised that I could take the Book History MA, study the modern history of publishing in a more academic way, and still take all of the elective courses and business elements that had appealed to me in the first place.'


Students from the MA Book History and Publishing Culture with Dr Paul Nash

Students from the MA Book History and Publishing Culture with Dr Paul Nash

Set: Hand-Printing Workshop 2011

Studying Book History at Oxford Brookes University
Studying Book History at Oxford Brookes University

Study the history of the book

Book history is a central aspect of research and teaching in the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies. The MA in Book History and Publishing Culture focuses on this dynamic field of study. From the introduction of the paperback to the advent of the ebook, the  themes include authorship, textual production, dissemination and reception in the period from 1870 to the present day. Taught by specialists in the field, it draws on theories of print culture and book history to identify the ideological challenges to the culture of publishing and the ways in which contemporary practice has been shaped by social, economic and technological developments.

  • Oxford is an ideal location for students of book history and is a major historical centre of publishing
  • Oxford Brookes is the home of the Booker Archive, the Book Design Collection, and the André Deutsch Collection
  • The University library also has an extensive publishing section as well as a special collection on Publishing in Africa
  • Students have access to the Bodleian Library's collections of books, magazines, archival collections and ephemera
  • Students have access to publishers' archival collections, including the Oxford University Press archive
  • Students are encouraged to participate in book history seminars and conferences held locally and nationally
  • The programme benefits from the involvement of many associate lecturers, including book historians, print and publishing historians, archivists and book collectors, authors and publishers

The MA in Book History and Publishing Culture is closely linked to the renowned MA in Publishing. Students also have the opportunity to take elective MA modules in English and History, enabling study of the links between publishing and these disciplines.  The course can be taken on a one year full-time basis, or on a two year part-time basis.  

Core Programme

  • Book History: Theories and Approaches
    Theoretical debates in the study of book history and introduction to research, including archival and primary research. Approaches to print and publishing culture with reference to a range of case studies in 20th century publishing history.
  • The History and Culture of Publishing
    Exploration of print history narratives; propaganda and censorship; publishing and the marketplace; colonialism, postcolonialism and publishing; feminist publishing; media concentration and globalisation in publishing; literary prize culture and the digital text.
  • Dissertation Agreed with your supervisor, this can cover any aspect of book history or publishing culture.

Elective Modules

  • Twentieth Century Texts
  • The Romantic Text
  • Victorian Texts: Visions and Revisions
  • Poetry and Poetics
  • Modernity and Culture in Britain 1910-1950
  • Britain and Europe 1950-1990
  • Race, Empire and Colonization


At the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, staff research interests focus on a variety of contemporary and historical publishing issues, including: publishing in World War One, authorship studies and scholarly editing,  colonial and post-colonial publishing in Africa, late twentieth and early twenty-first century publishing history, museum publishing and the digital text.