Text & Context: Publishing in Contemporary Culture
The full list of course readings can be found in the MPub PUB800 Zotero group.
You should also be following the following, as we will make reference to these over the course of the term:
- Booknet Canada Blog – http://www.booknetcanada.ca/blog/ (and newsletter)
- Mike Shatzkin: The Shatzkin Files – http://www.idealog.com/
- Scholarly Kitchen – http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/
- various: The Bookseller – http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs
- Quill and Quire – http://quillandquire.com/ (if only…)
- Publishers’ Weekly – http://www.publishersweekly.com/
- Journal of Electronic Publishing – http://www.journalofelectronicpublishing.org/
- LOGOS: Journal of the World Publishing Community
- Publishing Research Quarterly – http://link.springer.com/journal/12109
- SFU Library’s Publishing information resources – http://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/research-assistance/subject/publishing
As well, the “Recommended Readings” above, (collected at https://pinboard.in/u:tkbr/t:802/) provide ongoing context.
One: What is Publishing? – January 5th
Introductions; the role of print in society; the role of literature in society; the role of MPubbers in publishing.
Readings: Woolf, A Room of One’s Own; Homer: Iliad & Odyssey;
Two: Markets, Audiences, Publics – Jan 9
How does publishing operate, at a foundational level? Who are publics? How should we think about the publisher’s role in contemporary society? Ariel on Wershler.
See Matthew Stadler. 2010. What Is Publication? http://vimeo.com/14888791
Readings: Warner, “Publics and Counterpublics;” Wershler, “The Ethically Incomplete Editor.”
Three: Structure of the Publishing Industry – Jan 12
How does publishing constitute itself as an industry in contemporary capitalism? How does this play out in Canada in particular? Ariel continues with Wershler.
Readings: Lorimer, Ultra Libris, Introduction & Chapter 1; Wischenbart, “Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry”
Four: Cultural Policy – Jan 16,
Colonial heritage of Canadian publishing. Tara on Akiwenzie-Damm; we look at alternative perspectives on this history.
Readings: Lorimer, Chapter 2; Akiwenzie-Damm, “We think differently;”
Four.five: Cultural Policy, continued – Jan 19
How has Canadian publishing come to be the shape it is today? How has Canada seen itself through the lens of its publications? Carmen on Paquette.
Readings: Lorimer, Chapters 3-4; Paquette, “Settler Colonialism and Cultural Policy; Smith, “Soup Cans and Love Slaves.”
Five: Canadian Publishing Today – Jan 26
What are the structural pieces of Canadian publishing in the 21st century? How does public policy shape book and magazine publishing today? Jessica K on magazine support.
Readings: Lorimer, Chapters 5,6, & 8; Narang, “Notes from the Underground.”
Six: Supply Chains & Circulation – Jan 30, Feb 2
How do publications find their way to audiences? How are books marketed and distributed? How are magazines circulated? Tass & Lydhia to lead.
Readings: Anderson, “The Long Tail;” Theriault, “First, Do No Harm;” Hilderman, “Life After Print;” Hardes, “The Events Model;” Schiffrin, Words & Money.
*** Emerging Leaders Summit (first essay to emerge from this week) – Feb 6–10
*** SFU Reading Break (Nobody is allowed to go to Russia) – Feb 13–17
Seven: Magazines Online – Feb 20, 23
Periodicals have moved online in a multitude of ways, some which maintain a connection to traditional modes, and some which throw off tradition. What happens to publishing models when we go digital? Summer & Lauren to lead.
Readings: Madrigal, “A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor;” Lazauskas, “The New Model.”
Eight: Copyright Past and Present – Feb 27, Mar 2
Copyright is often credited with being foundational to the publishing industry. How does it work, and what is happening to it in the 21st century? Apurva & Aurora to lead.
Readings: Hesse, “The Rise of Intellectual Property;” Boyle, The Public Domain Chapter 1; Levy, “Access Copyright;” Geist, “Fair Access.”
Nine: The Age of Amazon
The Rise of Amazon as a monolith of e-commerce shifts the book industry to a new level. Katelynn, Keyan, and Dana to lead
Readings: Lorimer, Chapter 7; Bjarnasson, “Which Kind of Innovation?” O’Leary, “From Competitors To Collaborators;” AuthorEarnings.com; Maxwell, “Amazon and the Engagement Economy.”
Ten: Born-digital Genres
Fandoms; Webcomics; Digital Humanities; counterpublics… Bec to lead.
Readings: Zeta Elliott, “Black Authors and Self-Publishing”
Eleven: Scholarly Publishing & the Monograph
The Scholarly Monograph is in a pinched place; the printed book has traditionally been the ne plus ultra of scholarly authority. What happens to the academic book when academic discourse goes digital? Haiqin & Kirsten to lead
Readings: Fitzpatrick, Planned Obsolescence, Chapters 1 and 2.
Twelve: Towards a theory of publishing
Can we conceive of a Theory of Publishing? Can we even get any critical perspective on publishing, worthy of an academic discipline? Jessica R to lead.
Readings: Malik, “Horizons of the Publishable;” Bhaskar, The Content Machine
Thirteen: The Business of Literature
What, then, is the relationship between literature and publishing? We consider Richard Nash’s eloquent essay on the topic.
Readings: Nash, “The Business of Literature”
This course is an examination of the significance, contemporary state and developing trends in publishing, mostly from a Canadian perspective, across book, periodical, online, and scholarly forms.
As a seminar, PUB800 operates as a community of inquiry in which, through reading, writing, and discussing, we will together build a collective understanding of publishing and its key issues. We will work largely in public: all written and presented work will reside on this website, which will grow to be the archive of our efforts. We will write, and publish, and thereby actively shape our writing and reading contexts.
Lorimer, Rowland. 2012. Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada. Toronto: ECW Press.
PUB800 is a graduate seminar: the fundamental mode here is informed discussion: we read things together and argue about the implications.
More specifically, the class is driven by student-led discussion. Each of you will be responsible for leading the discussion on the topic and/or readings for a session (to be negotiated in advance). …
You will also write two short essays (roughly 2500 words) on topics to be negotiated. Essays will be posted on the course website (that is, in public), and peer-reviewed by your colleagues.
The assessment structure for the course is as follows:
Participation [40%]: Attendance is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a successful graduate seminar. In addition to attendance and active participation in seminar discussions, you will be expected to read beyond the (quite minimal) assigned readings. We will use Zotero and Hypothes.is to add, explore, and comment on articles we collectively discover, and you are expected to contribute to the literature we discuss (quality being more important than quantity). You will each also be responsible for leading class discussion on one topic (to be negotiated in Week 2). In PUB800, we will not do formal presentations or slides, just focused conversation. At minimum, you should look to lead with a (~20–minute) critical summary of your topic, including the following points:
- What it is;
- Who is involved? To whom does it matter?
- Why it is important or distinctive;
- What’s interesting/controversial/wrong/inspiring about it;
- What do your classmates think?
Short Essay #1 [30%]: Due Feb 20th. The essay has three parts: A prospectus (5 marks, due 1 week prior) describing where this essay should/would be published (and why), and what it adds to the critical conversations about publishing. Students are also encouraged to attempt to publish completed essays in these venues; the essay itself (20 marks), of roughly 2500 words, polished and edited, with proper academic citations (Chicago), and posted on the course website; and a peer review (5 marks, due 1 week later) of a classmate’s essay – focused on the strengths of the essay (rather than calling out its failings), connecting it to literature or discourses that you may be aware of but which are not directly referenced in the essay itself. The review should be between 400 and 600 words, and feature hyperlinks and bibliographic references as appropriate.
Short Essay #2 [30%]: As above, but due March 24th (with prospectus a week prior, and peer review a week later)