Assignment Overview:

  • Written analyses of 500-1000 words, accompanied by a variety of artifacts or media from our book lab sessions
  • Submitted through Canvas
  • Students work individually or in groups
  • Reports generally due within one week of the lab session.


For the first half to two-thirds of the semester, we will devote one day each week (typically Thursdays) to “book labs”, during which we will learn about historical or contemporary book technologies through hands-on activities. At the most practical level, the goal of these labs is to inspire ideas about the technologies, media, and approaches you might use in your final book projects. However, another core goal of this class is to bring together theory and praxis: to use our readings and discussions to contextualize our applied work in these laboratories, and to use our applied work in laboratories to enrich our understanding of concepts from our readings. Your lab reports will ask you to construct these bridges.

In each lab report entry, I will expect to find:

  1. An account of what you did: that is, a brief description of the lab activities completed and any outcomes (a material product, a digital text, etc.) including, where relevant, external proof of your work, such as photos or links.
  2. Prose that reflects on the process: what thoughts did doing the lab activity prompt about the medium and/or technologies we used? What insights or questions occurred as you worked? Did the activity remind you of other labs in this class, or other experiences beyond the course?
  3. Finally, an analytical reflection that puts the lab activity into conversation with at least one readings from the same week of class as the lab, as well as at least one reading drawn from the larger syllabus, or even beyond the class where appropriate. This prose need not be as formal as a research paper, but it should demonstrate careful thought and preparation. You should integrate the readings explicitly, if possible through direct quotation.

In general, lab reports will include 500-1000 words of prose and will be due within one week of the lab session. Precisely what you will submit will vary by lab, but they will typically be submitted through Canvas. You will have some flexibility about how many lab reports you submit, in line with your chosen grading contract.