Book History

Final Essay Project

Final Project: 40%
DUE: ***5/13– Friday @ midnight:  Posted to the blog***
In this 20 page analytical essay, you will explore in-depth one research question raised by our course. You will propose your own essay topic and determine the best way to present, formally and in a media-specific way, your argument and research. You will conduct and implement scholarly research, secondary sources (at least 3) not included on our syllabus, in your essay.

You will submit a plan for a final project in a formal proposal with an annotated bibliography; you will also meet with the professor to discuss the structure and presentation of the argument; and you will briefly present your project during the final week of class.

You have three options for a final project. Any of these projects can incorporate digital technologies and digital humanities methods for your research and/or presentation.


  • 1) Biography of a Book: This project will consist of two parts:
    1) a full bibliographic description of a book or manuscript in Special Collections, and 2) a scholarly analysis of its most interesting, significant, or mysterious feature of that object.  You may choose to analyze any feature of the manuscript/book or its history, and you may either compare or contrast it to some feature of digital literacy. You are invited to use any form of digital technology or analog medium to prepare and present the essay.
  • 2) Analytical Essay:

You will write a traditional thesis-driven and research-supported scholarly essay. You should consider this assignment an opportunity to draft a scholarly journal article, and you will receive feedback to assist in the endeavor of submitting the revised essay to a peer-reviewed academic journal. You will be graded on the originality of your argument and how well your analysis is presented and supported.

  • 3) Creative Project

You will showcase your learning by focusing on one topic, question, or text from the course and develop an argument about it that can be presented in a creative and media-specific way. You might create an artpiece made from paper, a work of bookart, a stop-animation video, a biography of a particular manuscript or collection of materials from SDSU’s Special Collections archives, or a full-blown web-based essay. Your project must include an essay that is 10-12 pages (double-spaced) and which contains an argument (a thesis) and uses at least two texts from our class. Your grade will be in part based upon how well the format of your project supports the argument. The essay part can be included in the art or can accompany it, but it  must be an explanatory essay that not only describes your artwork but presents an argument through the art and situates your argument along with the texts from the course that inspired it.