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ARTHIST 2S03 History/Printing & Printmaking

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Angela Sheng


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 425

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23156


Office Hours: Thursdays 1:00-2:00 pm or by appointment

Course Objectives:

This course will study some aspects of the history of printing and printmaking throughout the ages and across cultures. Themes include related techniques and technologies, such as papermaking; impact on the transmission of knowledge and artistic practices.

This course is also designed to encourage active learning. Students will work in small groups to make presentations and lead discussions on specific topics, where appropriate. Students will learn how to look at and write about art works that allow them to better understand how art and society are integrated.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Barnet. 2015. A Short Guide to Writing about Art. Pearson Education Inc.

Please note that to help students save money, as much as possible, required readings are chosen from articles accessed online through JSTOR and from books on reserve at Mills Library and one at Thode library.

Method of Assessment:

First assignment due January 16, details in the first class, 10%

In-class presentation and written report due on January 30, 15%

Midterm essay title, abstract, and bibliography due on February 13, 10%

Midterm essay due March 6, 25%

Take-home final Essay due April 12, 35%

Class participation, 5%

Please note that at least 10% of the grade will be known before March 16, 2018.

To get A+ requires correct spelling and grammar on all written work.

Grading Scale:

A+ 90-100       B+ 77-79         C+  67-69         D+       57-59

A   85-89         B    73-76        C    63-66         D         53-56

A-  80-84        B-   70-72         C-   60-62         D-       50-52

                                                                        F          0-49


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

The course is designed so that all students must read and work on schedule

If for a valid reason (if sick, with medical note) a student must be absent for the class when the student must make a presentation, 1) email the instructor the written report before class and to another student for the latter to read in class.

No extensions without a timely medical certificate.

Late penalties: for every day past the due date, 5% of the assignment’s grade.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

A detailed reading list will be provided at Avenue to Learn.

Week 1, January 5, 2018      Introduction

Overview the course, students sign up in small groups.

Week 2, January 9, 10, 12, 2018 Ancient Near Eastern Cylinder Seals

Week 3, January 16, 17, 19, 2018 Prehistoric Tablets and Branding

Week 4, January 23, 24, 26 , 2018 Ancient Chinese Printing

Week 5, January 30, 31, February 2, 2018 Buddhism and Printing in Asia

Week 6, February 6, 7, 9, 2018 Printing Illustrations and Money in Song China (960-1279)

Week 7, February 13, 14, 16, 2018 The Spread of Papermaking and Printing

Reading Week February 19-25, 2018

Week 8, February 27, 28, March 3, 2018 Printing in the Arab World and Beyond

Week 9, March 6, 7, 9, 2018 Gutenberg Press 1440, Before and After

Week 10, March 13, 14, 16, 2018 Woodblock printing in Ming China (1368-1643)

Week 11, March 20, 21, 23, 2018 Japanese Ukiyo-e: source and impact

Week 12, March 27, 28, 2018 Textile Printing in India, Java, and Europe

Week 13, April 3, 4, 6, 2018 Inuit Printmaking and Conclusion

Please note that there might be some adjustment to the above topics and dates depending on the progress of the class. If so, such adjustment will be announced in class and posted on Avenue to Learn.


Other Course Information:


Ad Atijnman and Elizabeth Savage (eds.). Printing Colour, 1400-1700: History, Techniques, Functions and Receptions. Leiden: Brill.

Bloom, Jonathan M. 2001. Paper before print: the history and impact of paper in the Islamic World.

THODE LIBRARY: TS 1091.B56 2001

Griffths, Anthony. 2016. “The European Print, 1550-1820” The Print before Photography. The British Museum. MILLS: NE625.G77 2016

Landau, David and Peter Parshall. 1994.The Renaissance Print, 1470-1550. Yale University Press. MILLS: NE441.5 R44L35 1994

Needham, Joseph and Tsien, Tsuen-hsuin. 1985. Science and civilisation in China, volume 5: chemistry and chemical technology. Part 1: paper and printing. Cambridge University Press.

MILLS: DS 721.N37 V.5 Pt. 1

Saff, Donald and Deli Sacilotto. 1978. Printmaking: history and process. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. MILLS: NE 850.S23 1978

Tinios, Ellis, 2010. Japanese Prints: Ukiyo-e in Edo, 1700-1900. The British Museum

Wechsler, Herman J. 1967. Great Prints and Printmakers. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers.

MILLS: NE900.W35 1967

When necessary, additional references will be posted on Avenue.