CFP – The Global History of the Book (1780 to the present)

Since SITAH has been keeping us very busy at lectures and discussions all around the city and beyond with artists, academics, curators, librarians, conservators, and others related to book arts, I would like to share this related CFP, in case anyone missed it in their inbox this week!

The Global History of the Book (1780 to the present): Workshop

Ertegun House, University of Oxford, 4 – 5 December 2014

The Global History of the Book (1780 to the present) is a two-day interdisciplinary workshop organised by doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in conjunction with the English Faculty’s Postcolonial Writing and Theory Seminar, the Oxford Centre for Global History and the University of Oxford’s Ertegun Graduate Programme in the Humanities, to be held on the 4th and 5th of December 2014 at Ertegun House, Oxford.

The aim of the workshop is to explore the global alongside the local, transnational and inter-imperial, textual and intertextual, dimensions of book history. Be it the book’s ability to travel, or its intervention in cultural politics, we are particularly interested in  papers that will demonstrate the crucial role that writing and print plays in the making and materialising of global history.

The workshop will have two main strands. The first strand comprises a panel discussion with Antoinette Burton and Isabel Hofmeyr, the editors of Creating an Imperial Commons: Books that Shaped the Modern British Empire, a collection of essays forthcoming from Duke University Press (2014).  They will focus on the critical implications of their project and new trends in Book History. This will be followed by readings and discussion with other contributors to the volume. The second strand will involve papers by graduate students and early career researchers, furthering the conversation of the plenary panels. Other confirmed speakers include Marilyn Lake, Catherine Hall and Elleke Boehmer.

Papers should be approximately 20 minutes long, and abstracts no more than 300 words. Abstracts, along with a short bionote (100 words) should be emailed by 15 June 2014.

Topics to be investigated include, but are not restricted to:
The book as worlded technology and the global politics of print
Travelling/transnational books and texts
The book as oceanic channel, the portable book
The relation between the book and other forms of print culture –pamphlets/newspapers/broadsheets etc.
Cultural translation and reception of texts/books – adaptations, appropriations of “canonical” texts
Documents/books and colonial bureaucracy
Interactions of oral and written cultures
Book cultures as “imperial commons”
Book types and genres— textbooks, primers, handbooks, manuals, travel guides, etc.
Publishing houses, publishing networks, the history of print
Approaches to postcolonialism and Postcolonial/Global book history
Sponsors and prize cultures, reception and the cult of the bestseller
World forms and global visions
Anglobalization via the book

Convenors: Elleke Boehmer, Dominic Davies, Rouven Kunstmann, Benjamin Mountford, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay and Asha Rogers

More information regarding possible paper topics etc, can be found at:

Rouven Kunstmann
Oxford University(Doctoral Candidate)
St Antony’s College
Visit the website at

Books and Bytes

Helmingham herbal and bestiary, circa 1500. folios 2v-3r

Helmingham herbal and bestiary, circa 1500.
folios 2v-3r

Over the course of the last week, the material, practical, ethical, and educational considerations surrounding the digitization of books has come up several times. I thought I’d share a few samples of books that have been fully digitized using different models of presentation. If you have any favorites (or ones that you find problematic!), please share a link in the comments.

Yesterday at Yale, Elisabeth mentioned that the Helmingham Herbal and Bestiary, currently on exhibit, has been fully digitized. You can scroll through the pages directly in the catalog record here.

Another digitized book worth exploring is the Beloit College copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle. In addition to digitized content of the book, the project team has shared some of the technical considerations behind their process. This was done about 10 years ago, so it’s dated in some ways, but still worth a look.

Interested in others that you might want to share with the group!


Paper Mill Videos

Now that you’ve experienced making your own paper, you might be interested in checking out this video of paper making genius (literally–he won a MacArthur “Genius” fellowship for his work) and historian Timothy Barrett attempting to recreate the exact workflow and pace of work of paper mills at their prime.

The video of the English paper mill that he mentions is here:

You might also be interested in exploring some of the watermark databases currently online. There are several, each with strengths in various time periods or regions. One of them, the Gravell Watermark Archive, has gathered links to several of them in one place.


More Photography Resources


Here are a few resources that might be helpful to explore.

Graphics Atlas is a project of the Image Permanence Institute. It’s an amazing resource for help in identifying photographic and photomechanical processes. The “guided tours” of images are a great way to be reminded of the various places to look for clues within a photograph.

The Photograph Information Record passed out in class today is available digitally here.

The George Eastman House has created a series of videos about individual photographic processes, showing clips of how they were done. These are nice overviews. A quick search on YouTube will bring up a wealth of videos demonstrating processes in detail. This one, for example, provides a great explanation of the wet collodion process.

The Northeast Document Conservation Center has a variety of free leaflets on various subjects relevant to this course, but definitely take a look at the photographs section with today’s session in mind.