Kansas City Art Institute
History of Book Arts: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
[Liberal Arts component]

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Professor: Dr. Maria Elena Buszek
Office: 304 Baty House (ext 3378), e-mail: mbuszek@kcai.edu
Office Hours: T/Th 11:30-1:00pm, or by appointment

Course Description: This course will examine how the definition of the book is changing to fit into today’s information age. Students will study the history of the book from the illuminated manuscripts of the Medieval era to the virtually-obtained information readable on the World Wide Web, touching on the technological and cultural developments in between. This (Liberal Arts) section of the class will focus on the historical and philosophical issues that pertain to bookmaking, communication, and artists’ uses of the book-related industries.

Grading: Your grade will be based on two exams, one research paper, and class participation. All these grades hold equal weight, which means your final grade will be based on the average of these four grades, each worth 25% of your grade. Because you will have plenty of lead-time to research and compose your paper—the due date of which has been included in the schedule from the beginning of the semester—late papers will not be accepted under any circumstances.

Attendance and Absence Policy: Attendance in class is mandatory, because much of the lecture material will not necessarily be directly or extensively addressed in your textbook readings. Information from lectures will be used to make up the exams and assignments, so one's success in the course will be entirely dependent upon one's presence and participation in the classroom each day.

      Each student will be allowed three unexcused absences from class over the course of the semester. Absences will only be excused when accompanied by official documentation from a physician or counselor explaining one's extended illness or extreme/unusual personal crisis. Such documentation must be presented within a reasonable amount of time (notes explaining one's illness from three months previous, for example, are not acceptable). Students with preexisting health issues that they anticipate may cause them to miss more than three classes are required to provide me with both a written explanation from and a phone number for the student’s physician or counselor, so that I may speak directly with the health care provider should the student’s absences begin to affect his/her grade. In any case, unless I am presented with the proper and timely documentation for a student’s absence/s, upon the fourth unexcused absence, the student will automatically receive a failing grade (“F”) in the class. Remember that it is the student's responsibility to contact me and deal with absences as soon as possible! Please keep this attendance policy in mind when mulling over your use of the “free” absences—I can assure you that you will regret those three days you skipped the day a flat tire/broken alarm/change in your work schedule occurs after you’ve used up your freebies.

Disabilities: Please let me know as soon as possible if you have a disability that hinders your performance in this class, so that accommodations may be made to satisfy course requirements. Trust me: you will find that I am willing to be extremely accommodating when it comes to student success, and am willing to tailor any aspect of the class to assure just about any student with any disability can not only take but do well in this class. Any student with questions about existing programs and resources available for learning- or physically disabled students can get further information through the KCAI Academic Resource Center: 816/802.3371.

Class Participation: Active participation on the part of each student is essential to the success and effectiveness of this course. Indeed, dialogue will be a crucial part of the way this class addresses the information at hand. Contrary to popular belief, some teachers do not necessarily enjoy talking to themselves, and really want to hear your thoughts and insights into the material being discussed. (By the way...I am one of those teachers!) Don’t be afraid to speak up!

Cheating and Plagiarism: Students are expected to be honest in both their test taking and paper writing assignments. Any dishonest student caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive an automatic “zero” on the exam/project at hand and be penalized to the fullest extent of the Art Institute’s guidelines. (This means anything from academic probation, to a failing course grade, or even expulsion.)

A note on class readings: Your textbook for this class is: Warren Chappell and Robert Bringhurst, A Short History of the Printed Word. However, students will be required to read articles or chapters from other sources, which may be placed on reserve in the library or linked to our class website as the semester continues, and which I will expect students to read before the class in which they will be addressed.

Books, references, citation: In addition to a copy of the textbook, I have also put on reserve the following books, which I feel might be useful to you if you would like further resources for studying or writing about the broad history of art and art historical methodology.

     Like any source, be sure to properly cite these books in the event that you use them in your writing assignments. (Once again, I’d like to remind everyone that plagiarism will be punished to the fullest extent of the Art Institute’s guidelines on the issue.)

Adams, Laurie Schneider. The Methodologies of Art: An Introduction. Boulder: Westview Press, 1996.

Harrison, Charles and Paul Wood (eds.). Art in Theory: 1900-1990. Oxford and Cambridge: Blackwell, 1992.

Nelson, Robert S. and Richard Shiff (eds). Critical Terms for Art History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Sayre, Henry. Writing About Art. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1999.

Questions? Problems? Frustrations? These, my friends, are what your professors are here to help you deal with! I place a priority upon making myself accessible to students, and do my best to be extremely flexible when it comes to meeting and talking with students who would like help. My crucial numbers (phone, e-mail, office) are located above, and I am always willing to answer questions, discuss problems, and ease anxiety.

Dates to remember: MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
February 19th: NO CLASS: College Art Association Conference
March 17: NO CLASS: Midterm Break
March 24th: Midterm Exam
March 31st: Student presentations begin
May 5th: Research papers due
May 12th: Final Exam


Course Schedule

28 The set-up: introduction/s, course overview, discussion

Guest lecturer: Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection, Richard W. Clement

11 CLASS TRIP: SPENCER MUSEUM OF ART, University of Kansas
Guest lecturer: Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Dr. Stephen Goddard

18 NO CLASS: College Art Association

25 Manuscript illumination and the printed word: Medieval and Early Renaissance books
(Chappell and Bringhurst, Chapters 1-4)

3 Renaissance and Baroque books
(Chapters 5 and 6)

10 Literacy and Enlightenment: The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
(Chapter 7)

17: NO CLASS: Midterm Break!

24 Toward Modernism:
Changing philosophies on books, art, and the popular press
(Chapters 8 and 9) MIDTERM EXAM

31 Artists and books: Expressionism, Futurism, Dada

7 Artists and books: Constructivism, The Bauhaus

14 Artists and books: Surrealism and Pop Art

21 Artists and books: Postmodern artists of the ‘60s and ‘70s

28 Artists and books: Postmodern artists since the ‘80s.

5 The digital revolution: communication, computers, and the Web

Final exam: Book arts since the 20th century
held on the last day of class: Wednesday, May 12th