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Book History and Material Culture (MSc)

Course Description

Programme description

Based at the University’s internationally recognised Centre for the History of the Book, this programme brings together theory and practice to explore cultural history, intensive archival research and the latest intellectual developments in this specialised field.

This programme provides an introduction to Book History as a concept and provides a general overview of the key developments in the field, tracing the movement from scribal culture to hand printing, from industrialisation to new technologies.

You will be taught by leading international experts, combining traditional bibliography, special collections training and advanced theoretical approaches, to advance your knowledge and practical skills.

As well as the major manuscript and printed collections held by the University, you will have access to the National Library of Scotland (which holds one of the most important collections for the study of bibliography in Europe).

Programme structure

Over two semesters, you will complete two compulsory and two option courses, along with a course in research methods, followed by an independently researched dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

Cultures of the Book
Working with Collections
Option courses may include:

Working with Pre-modern Manuscripts
Expanding the Book: Image and Literacy in Valois France
Print Culture and the Enlightenment: Edinburgh and London, 1710-1814
Working with Pre-modern Manuscripts
Critical Theory: Issues and Debates
Digital Humanities for Literary Studies
Shakespeare Adapted
Poor Things: Capitalism, Reification and 20th Century Literature
Modernism: Text, Image, Object

Work placement/internship opportunities

Work placements allow students to take advantage of the exceptional resources in Edinburgh for the study of books in order to gain hands-on experience that will be beneficial in their future careers.

Placements may take place internally, for example in the Centre for Research Collections at the University Library, or externally with several partner organisations.

You will receive training from the placement supervisor, and will undertake well-defined projects in the course of your placement, such as cataloguing, conservation, collation, digitisation and other kinds of work.

You will reflect on your placement in a poster presentation, and it will provide material for an academic essay. Regular academic oversight of the work placement will be provided by the Course Organiser.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme, you will have a firm grasp of:

the extensive range of media forms and technologies, from manuscript to electronic text
the issues surrounding conservation, cataloguing, digitisation, and the display and management of collections
advanced archival research methodologies in manuscript and print

Visit the Book History and Material Culture (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline is normally required.

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