ESOC 315 Publishing: From Papyrus to E-Book Readers (3)



PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS SYLLABUS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS UNTIL THE START OF CLASS AND DETAILS MAY CHANGE AT ANY TIME UP TO THEN. Changes after class begins may occur but the reasons, usually improved learning, will be made clear and students consulted.

We may tend to think that radical change, especially in means of communication, is characteristic only of our modern society. This class traces the radical developments of writing, making “books,” paper, parchment, and printing to the networked information of our own times. We will see similar issues as writers across time and space struggle to find an audience and make an impact. Publication and publishing methods will differ, but we will see encounter common issues, such as authority, accuracy, expertise, cost, censorship, and the struggle to make an impact with writing. When we reach the eSociety, we will see how many issues from the past are surfacing now, and how our solutions of these issues will make a difference in the future.

Academic Year: 


Course ID and Name: 

Section Number: 

Course Syllabus

Course Prerequisites: 


Course Description: 

In the early 21st Century, we see publishing in the throes of dramatic changes, from print to electronic most obviously but also in who authors books, the economics of publishing, and how books get to readers. These changes remind us that the dynamics of the movement of the written word to its audience are an integral part of the society in which books are written, produced, and circulate. This 3-credit course takes an historical perspective on publication, which has different definitions in different societies. We will start with ancient societies all over the world, and we will investigate the circumstances in which books distinguish themselves from administrative records and begin to serve the needs of the literate elite. We will examine the way the physical form of the book and the technologies for producing it arise from the circumstances of each society, and in turn, how that physical format conditions the character of books and their use. We will trace the rise of publication practices and identify the factors necessary for the reproduction and distribution of books to form an actual trade in books in varying societies. As we work our way from the ancient world to the early modern world, we will compare publication practices in different societies and see if we can distinguish commonalities and differences in the relationships that develop between the creation, reproduction and distribution of books. Of particular focus will be our comparison of the rise of publication and book trades in Europe, Asia, and the Arab world before 1450. After the introduction of printing with metal moveable type in Europe, associated with Gutenberg in approximately 1450, we will have an opportunity to observe the changes that this new technology makes in publishing and the book trade, by comparing the mature manuscript book trade of the late middle ages the hand-press book publishing of early modern Europe. Then we will move rapidly to the twentieth and twenty-first century in the United States to see how an increasingly eSociety is reshaping publication. And we will undoubtedly find themes that we can trace through time and space to the present information age.

Course Objective: 

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

1 Demonstrate factual knowledge of the place of books and publication in societies from ancient times to the E-Society.

2. Define basic concepts and terms that relate to book publication throughout history

3. Compare and contrast book formats and publication practices, identifying societal factors that may have shaped them.

4Articulate societal factors that shape the development of book publication and compare and contrast these in differing societies from ancient to the 21st Century

5. Use comparative knowledge of the changes in book publication within societies and between societies to discuss the future of book publishing.


Required Course Materials: 

Most readings will come from the book, A companion to the history of the book, edited by Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose. This is available in an electronic version from the University of Arizona Libraries, via an unlimited user subscription, so all students can use this electronic copy without cost at their convenience. (updated Nov 2, 2012).

This book also comes in a print version and can be purchased from Amazon and other places for those students who prefer to use a print copy instead of an electronic PDF.

Additional materials for reading and viewing will be available in the D2L site for the course.


Course Requirements: 

Requirements for the Course:

To succeed in this course, 2-3 hours of study time per hour of formal class time (or per unit) are required. This means that in addition to our two and a half hours of formal class meeting time, 8 hours plus a week of study time are needed in order to meet course requirements/expectations, and receive a C.

Students who wish to receive an A or a B will need to determine for themselves how much more time it takes to do work at these levels. These hours should be spent on reading texts and websites, writing scenarios and your term paper, researching for new information, and taking quizzes. College-level reading and writing abilities are assumed.


The schedule may be changed until class starts, and after with sufficient reason and notice.




Week 1, Module 01

Wed, 01/09 FIRST DAY


Week 2, Module 02

Mon, 01/14

Sumer, Books without Publication

Week 2, Module 03

Wed, 01/16

Egypt, Books without Publishing




Week 3, Module 04

Wed, 01/23

Classical Greece 510-323 BCE

Week 4, Module 05

Mon, 01/28

Hellenistic Greece – 323 – 27 BCE

Week 4, Module 05

Wed, 01/30

Hellenistic Greece – 323 – 27 BCE

Week 5, Module 06

Mon, 02/04

Rome, 100 BCE -200 AD

Week 5, Module 06

Wed, 02/06

Rome, 100 BCE -200 AD

Week 6, Module 07

Mon, 02/11

China, Tang Dynasty 618-907

Week 6, Module 07

Wed, 02/13

China, Tang Dynasty, 618-907

Week 7, Module 08

Mon, 02/18

Islam, 750 - 1100

Week 7, Module 08

Wed, 02/20

Islam, 750 - 1100

Week 8, Module 09

Mon, 02/05

Timbuktu, Ethiopia 1500-1601

Week 8, Module10

Wed, 02/27

Late Medieval, 1300 - 1450

Week 9, Module10

Mon, 03/04

Late Medieval, 1300 - 1450


Wed, 03/07








Week 11, Module 11

Mon, 03/18

Early Age of Printing1450-1550

Week 11, Module 11


Early Age of Printing, 1450-1550

Week 12, Module 12

Mon, 03/25


Week 12, Module 12

Wed, 03/27

Industrialization of Printing, 1800-1900

Week 13, Module 13

Mon, 03/31

Rise of American Publishing

Week 13, Module 13

Wed, 04/01

Rise of American Publishing—Golden Age

Week 14, Module 14

Mon, 04/08

Beginnings of Change 1960s-1980s

Week 14, Module 15

Wed, 04/10

Rise of Corporate Publishing--1980’s -

Week 15, Module 16

Mon, 04/15

Rise of Print Self-Publishing, 2005 -

Week 15, Module 17

Wed, 04/17

ePublishing: Mainstream 2000 --

Week 16, Module 18

Mon, 04/22

ePublishing: ePublishing Formats/Platforms

Week 16, Module 19

Wed, 04/25

ePublishing: e self-publishing

Week 17, Module 20

Mon, 04/29

eBook Fair; ebooks due 4/28 at midnight

Week 17, Module 20

Wed, 05/01 LAST DAY

eBook Fair



Terminology Final; Essay Final


Course Assignments

  • Class attendance/participation:

Participation is graded weekly. Lack of class attendance earns you a zero grade in participation.

If you attend class, and do not speak, you will receive a 1 for that week. Higher grades depend on at least amount and quality of participation and on the quality of the Module Worksheet, see below. Excuses for missing class must be either preapproved by administration or presentation of a documented, verifiable reason. Make-up will consist of posting the worksheet study questions in D2L, which will count as participation.

Participation Etiquette: Because grades depend on speaking in class, everyone needs to follow principles that will give each person a chance to speak up. After each question, I will ask us to observe some seconds of silence before hands go up. My speaking again is the signal for raising of hands. The goal is to let everyone speak once before entertaining a second comment from members of the class. I will ask students to self-monitor this. In other words, don’t raise your hand again until I indicate that another round of answering is in place. Again, we will try to hear from everyone before entering another round. How well this works depends on class size and class cooperation. If there seem to be problems developing, we will adjust participation requirements and etiquette.

  • Module Worksheets: Each module has a worksheet that identifies the key elements of our “snapshot” of the period we are studying. Basic information for these elements will be presented in lectures and discussion. A completed worksheet from each student is due in the dropbox by 11:59 on Sunday.


  • Searching Tip, Assignment, and Searching Journal: Each week there will be a searching tip. Each student is to search for additional information about any of the elements that interest them and include that the url where they found the additional information in their weekly worksheets. Students who want an A will be required to turn in a searching journal with their worksheets each week, detailing the search strategy they started with, how they refined it, and comments on the results. Completion of a weekly searching journal will not guarantee an A, but the information you find and incorporate into your weekly worksheets should make you a better searcher and learner.


  • Factual Weekly Quizzes

Factual quizzes must be taken in D2L by11:59 on the due date. These quizzes are multiple choices and will be open during the entire week until the closing date. The quizzes are mandatory and taking them is part of your participation grade. The quizzes will be machine-graded as soon as you take the quiz, but that grade is not used in any grading. Quizzes also may be taken as many times during the week as you wish. I highly recommend that you use them as study aids, taking them after you read or listen to the lectures, and identifying the areas you need to study more. The mid-term and final factual exams will be taken from the weekly quizzes and will be graded.

  • Mid-term and Final Factual Exams

The mid-term factual exam consists of items from quizzes of weeks 2-10 and the final factual exam consists of items from quizzes of weeks 11-16. There will be 100 questions to answer in an hour in each exam. The exams will be taken in D2L. The time of the exams will be as announced in the exam schedule and all students must take the exams at the same time, although not necessarily in the same place. At the end of the time period, the quiz will close. Arranging to have a computer available is the responsibility of the student. Wise students will have backup plans and leave enough time to put them in place if your first choice computer does not work. Using outside resources is not allowed, and in any case, the time allowed is just enough to complete the exam if you know the answers or are reasonably sure. Alternatively, a computer lab may be arranged for taking this midterm and final

  • Mid-term and Final Exams

The midterm and final essay exams will be one hour each and taken in D2L at the same time, but not necessarily at the same place. Student responsibility for computer access is the same as for the factual midterm and final. Alternatively, a computer lab may be arranged for taking this midterm and final.

  • Scenarios : There will be two scenario assignments, one due at the end of week 7 and one at the end of week 15. Scenario assignments should be no longer than 1300 works. For each period we study, there will be a scenario assignment, and students have their choice of one during weeks 2-7 and one weeks 8 – 15. The assignments ask the student to develop a fictional scenario about a person living in the time period who has a “book” to publish. The scenario should be based on what the student knows of real writers of the time and the ways they could bring their book to publication. More complete instructions will be available at the start of the course.
  • eBook : each student will be asked to make an ebook, following detailed procedures that will be available. Help will also available. The content of the ebook can be either 2 or more module worksheets or two or more scenarios. Only two documents are need in the book, along with a cover, author page, title page and table of contents. Some students may really enjoy this and want to make larger books, but the basic assignment is enough for a B. Detailed instruction will be available. Ebooks will be uploaded in the last week, and students will share their products.

Course Grading: 

Graded Assignment Percentages

  • Class attendance/participation:……………………………………5%
  • Weekly Worksheets………………………………………………..25%
  • Scenario papers, (2)……………………………………………… 20%
  • Mid-term Factual Exam, multiple choice…………………………10%
  • Mid-term Essay Exam……………………………………………..10%
  • Final Factual Exam, multiple choice……………………………..10%
  • Final Essay Exam……………………………………………….. ..10%
  • Ebook………………………………………………………………..10%
  • All assignments are graded on a 10 point scale:

    A = 10, 9 points: outstanding

    B = 8, 7, 6 points: exceeds expectations

    C = 5, 4, 3: meets expectations

    D = 2, 1: falls short of expectations

    E= 0 points: assignment is unacceptable

Course Policies: 


· All written work will be evaluated for format, organization, style, grammar, and punctuation as well as content, argument, paragraph coherence as indicated by a topic sentence, and a thesis or purpose statement in the introduction as relevant.

· Written work turned in for this course is expected to be formatted in accordance with the American Psychological Association style guide, including correct citation style within the paper and in the Works Cited list.

  • The instructions for course assignments will be posted in D2L
  • Honors students will be required to do more scenarios.


Attendance, Due Dates, and Missing Work

· As described above, lack of attendance or failure to stay for the entire class will earn you a zero in your participation grade for that class session.

· All holidays or special events observed by organized religions will be honored for those students who show affiliation with that particular religion.

· Arriving late and leaving early is extremely disruptive to others in the class. Please avoid this kind of disruption. Late arrivals and early departures endanger your attendance and participation grade.

· Exams are due during the prescribed hours. Rescheduling an exam can only occur with prior notice or in the verified emergencies mentioned above.


Course Conduct and Campus Policies (be familiar with all campus policies):

· Food and technologies are issues in classrooms. Cellular telephones are distracting, so turn them off and keep them out of sight. Laptops can be utilized, but only for note-taking purposes. Texting in class or using laptops for purposes other than note-taking will result in a zero participation grade for that week. Please follow classroom rules regarding food and beverages in the classroom.

· In that this is a safe environment for sharing and generating unique ideas, please try to be “open” to diverse perspectives and learn from others who may pose views that differ from your own. If you find course material that goes against your “grain” or beliefs, try to wrangle with new ideas and consider a variety of perspectives instead of simply rejecting ideas that do not conform immediately with your own. When sharing your own ideas, do not subject others to inappropriate language or problematic assumptions about social groups.

· Rules on academic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. Plagiarism is literary thievery, taking the words or ideas of another and representing them as your own. Do not copy another student’s work, pull text from online sources, or turn in the same work for this class that you have used in another class. All work turned in must be original and specific to this course. Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties (e.g., failing grade or removal from the University). Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of course materials. However, graded work/exercises must be the product of independent effort unless otherwise instructed. Students are expected to adhere to the UA Code of Academic Integrity .

· Arrangements can be made if you have a physical challenge or condition that could impair your participation and/or performance in this course. Please notify me immediately if you need accommodation, and register with Disability Resources so that I can make the accommodation: Disability Resources Center, 1224 East Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, (520) 621-3268, FAX (520) 621-9423, email:, You must register and request that the Center or DRC send me official notification of your accommodations needs as soon as possible. Please plan to meet with me by appointment or during office hours to discuss accommodations and how my course requirements and activities may impact your ability to fully participate. The need for accommodations must be documented by Disability Resources.

· The Arizona Board of Regents’ Student Code of Conduct, ABOR Policy 5-308, prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to one’s self. See:

· All student records will be managed and held confidentially.

· Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policy, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.


Technology in this Course:

This semester, and in addition to using a variety of web-based tools, you will have access to and will be required to retrieve all course documents from our course page in D2L. You will also take quizzes and exams using D2L. And all written assignments will be turned in via the D2L dropbox. Please prepare now for this experience by familiarizing yourself with D2L, the web-based courseware supporting our course. Training for D2L can be found online at: Training on use of the discussion board, in particular, can be found at: Also, always have a back up plan. If your ‘default’ or most preferred computing location fails, be prepared to find a computer to use when you need a backup machine (i.e., familiarize yourself with services offered at local libraries, coffee shops, the ILC on campus, or office stores like Kinkos).

Contacting the Instructor:

Jana Bradley,


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences