The history and culture of publishing

Module Number: P65029

Module Leader(s)/Tutors: Dr Caroline Davis,

This module takes place during Semester 2

In this module, you will engage with and contribute to current intellectual discussions and debates about culture, print culture, and the role of the publisher. Examining the culture and ideology of publishing in terms of its development throughout the 20th century and its contemporary practice, you will consider the major challenges that have occurred in publishing culture as a result of social, political, economic and technological developments. You will analyse theories of print culture and critiques of the role of the publisher in society and you will explore a variety of methodological approaches to the study of authorship, textual production, print dissemination and reception.

The module is taught by means of lectures, seminars, and presentations by historians and industry speakers.  Past guest lecturers have included

  • Professor Juliet Gardiner, author of Wartime: Britain 1939-1945
  • Miha Kovac, Associate Professor, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and editor-in-chief of the Slovene edition of National Geographic Magazine
  • Antonia Hodgson, publisher, Little, Brown (Hachette Livre Group)
  • Steve Hare, author of Penguin Portrait: Allen Lane and the Penguin Editors 1935-1970

You will be assessed through seminar contribution and an extended essay which allows for an in-depth, individual investigation into an aspect of 20th/21st century publishing history and culture. 

Comments from students:

‘It was a great opportunity to think about publishing in a wider context.'

‘It is interesting to see the historical and cultural significance of publishing history - how the industry is what it is today.'

‘The topics were very interesting and got me thinking.'

‘The module fitted in well with the contexts of my other modules and my dissertation.'

Contributes to: Publishing