Apr 12, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Book Studies Minor

The minor consists of a minimum of 5 full courses (or the equivalent).

Note: Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the minor.

Book studies has emerged in the 21st century as an exciting and inherently interdisciplinary field of study. It encompasses the social and cultural history of books/texts and their transmission as well as artisanal and artistic approaches to the book as represented by book artists, illustrators, graphic designers, binders, fine press printers, and others engaged in studying the relationships between text and image. The “book” in book studies is multiform, extending beyond the printed codex to embrace all formats, from cuneiform tablets to electronic media. The study of the book–as a material, cultural, sociological, religious, and artistic artifact–reaches all corners of the globe and extends into all eras and attends to both hegemonic and divergent voices, while book history and book arts are mutually reinforcing.

Tracing technologies of reading and writing throughout history, across the globe, and in a variety of media, book studies provides a rich context in which to understand the cultural significance of current forms of communication and information storage, from social media to data mining. It fosters skills of critical thinking while placing equal emphasis on thinking practically about employment opportunities by alerting students and preparing them for careers in new media, art and design, academia, education, conservation, publishing in various media, archives, and librarianship.

arrow Visit the minor’s web page for more information.

Note(s) on Requirements

  • Students must take courses in at least two departments outside of the art history department (the home department of ARTH 204 ).
  • An approved Winter Term project or summer internship may fulfill the practice course requirement.
  • If a student wishes to count a course that is not listed below toward the minor, they can petition the minor chair(s) for approval to apply the completed or in-progress course toward their major.
  • In planning their schedules, students should be aware that some of the courses listed below have prerequisites.

Curriculum Overview

Our goal is to provide pathways for students interested in books as communication, material culture, and artistic media on a global scale. Bridging theory and practice, history and contemporary culture, the intellectual and the artistic, and Western and non-Western, the book studies minor encourages connections across the Oberlin curriculum and allows students to tailor a wide variety of courses to their particular interests.

Book studies at Oberlin pursues two core approaches: 1) history and theory, and 2) practice. By means of these two approaches, the program enables students to experience how making and creating go hand in hand with thinking and analyzing.

Declaring the Minor

Upon declaring a book studies minor, students will identify an advisor from the curricular committee. In consultation with the advisor, they will write an intellectual coherence statement, outlining their intended course of study and their understanding of how the courses undertaken will relate to one another. This statement will be submitted to the curricular committee and periodically revisited by the student in consultation with the advisor.

Students wishing to complete the book studies minor should complete the interdivisional or Arts and Sciences minor declaration/change form. The form requires the signature of the curricular committee chair.

Erik W. Inglis (Art History)

arrow See the full list of Book Studies Curricular Committee members.

Detailed Minor Requirements

Book Studies Minor Course Lists

Culminating Experience

Return to the summary of requirements.

Book studies students will meet with their minor advisor and one other committee member to reflect on the minor.

Book Studies Curricular Committee

Erik W. Inglis (Jay Prof. - Art History), chair

Valerie Hotchkiss (Dir. - Libraries), ex officio
Andrew Macomber (Asst. Prof. - East Asian Studies and Religion)
James O’Leary (Assoc. Prof. - Musicology)
Ann Sherif (Prof. - Japanese)
Edward Vermue (Spec. Coll. - Libraries), ex officio