case western reserve university

Intellectual Property and the Construction of Authorship


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Course Description

As the category by which creative cultural production has been defined and valued for the last two centuries, “authorship” is one of the West’s most powerful ideas. We will examine the emergence and consolidation of this idea in the context of some of the technologies, institutions, and practices that have fostered and been fostered by it, such as printing and publishing, copyright law, educational curricula and writing pedagogies, then will turn our attention to the varieties of authorship in operation today -- from the essentially solitary, originary idea of authorship still so important in the arts and humanities to the collaborative, even corporate, forms in ascendance in science and industry. How are ideas of authorship employed in the various discursive spheres to assign credit and responsibility? May tensions be found with creative practice? What are the stakes? Who wins, who loses? And what will be the consequences of digitalization and globalization? The goal of our study will be to identify worthy research topics within students’ own areas of specialization or interest.