Exploring Global Typography through Digital Archives
Instructor: Dori Griffin
Dates: July 24–28, 2023
Almost since its introduction, typography has been one of the foundational aspects of studying “the book.” In our contemporary globalized and digitized context, it’s increasingly myopic to maintain an exclusive focus on the oeuvre of famous Western European and North American typographers—historically, white male users of the latin alphabet. Yet even within these limits, typography has a complex technical vocabulary, a disciplinary language of form, and an expansive set of “canonical” texts and visual exemplars. How might we as makers, users, scholars, and teachers of typographic objects cultivate a more inclusive perspective? This course takes an expansive approach to introducing the cultural and material languages of typography. It prioritizes opportunities for global engagement, cross- and transcultural approaches, and meaningful encounters with accessible digital surrogates. Together, participants in the course will make space for respectful curiosity, intentionally diverse encounters with new knowledge, and pluralistic definitions of “good” or “historically significant” typography.
Asynchronous content will include short readings and videos to introduce key practical and theoretical concepts. Synchronous meetings will include short lectures; discussions; interactive analytical exercises; and collaborative, hands-on, critically engaged making activities. Students will take away 1) basic knowledge of typographic vocabulary, technologies, and artifacts across multiple cultures and scripts; 2) relevant digital archives and useful research methodologies for investigating them; and 3) pedagogical strategies and tools for exploring such materials with diverse students. What new questions and opportunities arise when we study typographic printing through a global, digital, radically inclusive lense?
Completion of this course helps to meet requirements for one of the following certificate requirements:
- 1 of 3 elective credit courses for Certificate in Rare Books and Manuscripts, or
- 1 of 2 elective credit courses for Certificate in Librarianship, Activism, and Justice