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Book Studies

Book studies specialists in the English department provide an exciting, interdisciplinary approach to literary and cultural history. Focusing on the production, transmission, and circulation of texts in their scribal, print, and digital media, we are interested in the physical properties of word and image in the book format. We examine a welter of cultural records—scrolls, codices, broadsides, pamphlets, periodicals, collages, websites—in order to measure the shifting historical meanings of authorship, publication, and reception. Book specialists further assess the impact of a text's materiality on audiences and publics; on constructions of gender, race, and class; and on theories of art, information, and collection. Students benefit from the University of Iowa Center for the Book, a distinctive multidisciplinary unit with expertise in the craft and history of books.