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Past Programs

2016-2017

James Raven (University of Essex/Magdalene College, Cambridge)
“How Can There Be A History of the Book? A History of Book History”
Thursday, 29 September 2016, 4:15 pm
In Association with the Friends of Victoria University Library
Victoria College Chapel, 91 Charles Street W., Room VC213
Abstract and Biography

For some contributors to the history of the book, the subject appears bounded and specific, for others it is more indefinite, more a label than a discipline. This lecture explores how these differences relate to parent disciplines and the training of respective contributors from literary, historical, bibliographical, codicological, digital, library and conservation studies. In ways akin to the elision between ‘the history of art’ and ‘art history,’ there are in the English-speaking world subtle semantic differences between ‘the history of the book’, the ‘history of books’ and ‘book history’, but the greater challenge is whether any of these descriptors are sufficiently robust to dispel questions about originality, integrity and coherence. In contemplating future directions, the lecture will consider the approach of some of the founding practitioners, surveying the insistence upon interdisciplinarity and examining the limits to this ambition. It will probe the further complications of the ‘history of print culture’ and question whether ‘book history,’ until recently apparently practised mostly in and about the Western World, can be global in ambition.

James Raven is Professor of Modern History at the University of Essex and a Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge; he was previously Reader in Social and Cultural History at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow of Mansfield College. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and a member of the American Antiquarian Society, he has also held visiting appointments in the United States, France, Italy and Britain. His scholarship in social and cultural history and cultural studies was recognized with the award of LittD from the University of Cambridge in 2012. His recent publications include Bookscape: Geographies of Printing and Publishing in London before 1800 (Chicago, 2014), based on his British Library Panizzi Lectures for 2010; Publishing Business in Eighteenth-Century England (Boydell, 2014); and Lost Mansions: Essays on the Destruction of the Country House (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Numerous earlier books and articles examine social, economic and communications history, historical mapping, approaches to media and literary history, the spatial organisation of knowledge, historical bibliography, and colonial cultural history. He has also published on specific aspects of urban, business and popular and intellectual history, and is a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement. As part of a major long-term project re-examining the spatial history of Enlightenment global networks, he is completing a book on reading and commercialisation, and he is also currently completing research for an OUP history of chancing, gambling and state lotteries. He directs the Cambridge Project for the Book Trust and the Mapping the Print Culture of Eighteenth-Century London project, and is now launching a major European network project on the historical geographies of communications and social media (building on an earlier European Science Foundation workshop, ‘Knowing About Mediation’, involving participants from 14 EU countries).

Robert Spoo (University of Tulsa College of Law)
“International Authors’ Rights and the Uncoordinated Public Domain”
Thursday, 3 November 2016, 4:15 pm
In Association with the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy (Faculty of Law)
Faculty of Law, 78 Queen’s Park, Room J140
Abstract and Biography

When nations amend their copyright laws in response to calls for international harmonization, they usually do so by expanding authors’ rights without also seeking to harmonize national public domains. Divergent laws have resulted in an uncoordinated global public domain that renders authors’ works freely available for use in some countries while subjecting them to copyright or moral-rights protection in others. The problem of the patchwork global commons, exacerbated by unpredictable literary estates and the inconsistent policies of institutional repositories, undermines the ability of researchers to access and disseminate historical and cultural materials, including unpublished works. The uncoordinated public domain shares certain features–notably, the problem of resource underuse–with what scholars of law and economics call an anticommons. A balanced solution might be to employ a system of compulsory licenses to harmonize the world’s public domains and to coordinate the legal conditions whereby the vast resources held by cultural institutions could be more fully exploited. The chief example used throughout this talk is James Joyce–specifically, the ongoing Oxford University Press project, of which Professor Spoo is a co-editor, to collect and publish some 2,000 unpublished letters written by Joyce.

Robert Spoo holds the Chapman Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Tulsa, and was recently named a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow. He earned his JD from Yale, where he was executive editor of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating, he served as law clerk for the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and practised for several years in New York, Oklahoma, and San Francisco, providing litigation services and advice in the areas of copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property. As an attorney, Professor Spoo has represented authors, scholars, documentary filmmakers, record companies, and other creators and users of intellectual property. His litigation work has included serving as co-counsel, with the Stanford Center for Internet & Society and other attorneys, for Professor Carol Shloss of Stanford against the Estate of James Joyce. Prior to his legal career, Professor Spoo received his PhD in English from Princeton and taught for more than ten years in the University of Tulsa English Department, where he was also editor of the James Joyce Quarterly. He has published numerous books and articles on Joyce, Ezra Pound, and other modern literary figures. His teaching interests include copyrights and intellectual property, media and entertainment law, law and literature, and the copyright-related needs of scholars. His book Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain (OUP, 2013) offers a legal and cultural history of the impact on non-US authors of protectionist and isolationist features of US copyright laws since 1790. Professor Spoo is a member of the Modernist Studies Association Task Force on Fair Use, serves as copyright advisor to many academic journals and projects, and acts as general counsel for the International James Joyce Foundation. He also serves on the National Library of Ireland advisory board, and has assisted with proposed copyright legislation for the Republic of Ireland and other copyright issues affecting Irish cultural institutions.

Leslie Howsam (University of Windsor)
“Inverting Interdisciplinarity: Who will take Book History to the Next Level?”
Thursday, 19 January 2017, 4:15 pm
In Association with the Faculty of Information
Faculty of Information, 140 St. George Street, Room 728
Abstract and Biography

Robert Darnton famously worried that book history might lead to “interdisciplinarity run riot.” Perhaps instead the time has come to turn it inside out. In my 2006 Old Books & New Histories I called for mutual respect among the three core disciplines. Each scholar asks questions grounded in the field(s) of study where their intellectual formation happened. This paper aims to go beyond the existing practitioners of the “interdiscipline” we call book history to consider its encounter/engagement with other ways of understanding the world, both academic and not. The argument is that practitioners better understand their own discipline’s engagement with book culture than anyone else (hence historians of science and scientific culture; hence literary scholars and creative writing; hence historians and historiography). But what are the questions that legal scholars might ask of “the book” in all its complexity of mutability and mediatedness? Sociologists? Management experts? Nutritionists? These and other academic disciplines have research challenges that connect with the realms of book culture while remaining rooted elsewhere. Similarly such book-dependent fields of popular knowledge as diet and exercise, military history, and celebrity biography are perhaps best served by journalists, bloggers and others. But those commentators should first acquire some familiarity with the basic principles of book-historical knowledge.

Leslie Howsam is Distinguished University Professor Emerita at the University of Windsor, Senior Research Fellow at Ryerson University’s Centre for Digital Humanities, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She earned a PhD in modern British history from York University in 1989 and joined the faculty at Windsor in 1993. She was later founding president of the Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture / Association Canadienne pour l’étude de l’histoire du livre (2004 -9) and president of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (2009-13). She now serves as General Editor for the series Studies in Book and Print Culture published by the University of Toronto Press. She is a Trustee of the Cambridge Project for the Book Trust and a Life Member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. Her major publications include, as editor, The Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and in 2009 the British Library and the University of Toronto Press jointly published Past into Print: The Publishing of History in Britain 1850-1950. This was based on lectures delivered as part of her James P. R. Lyell Readership in Bibliography (2005-6) at the University of Oxford. Her first book was Cheap Bibles: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the British and Foreign Bible Society (Cambridge University Press, 1991); perhaps her best-known is Old Books & New Histories: An Orientation to Studies in Book & Print Culture (University of Toronto Press, 2006).

Natalie Zemon Davis (University of Toronto)
“Experiencing Exclusion: Book History After the Inquisition”
Thursday, 23 March 2017, 4:15 pm
Massey College, 4 Devonshire Place, Upper Library.
Abstract and Biography

In this informal talk, Natalie Davis will describe the impact of the Red Hunt in the United States in the 1950s on her own scholarship as a graduate student and beginning historian, especially its effect on her work on book history in early modern France. She will also look at some other historians similarly affected by the experience of political persecution and see what consequences it had for their historical writing. How did we cope with censorship?

Natalie Zemon Davis specializes in the social and cultural history of France, as well as other parts of Europe, North America, and the Caribbean. She has taught at Brown University, the University of Toronto, the University of California, Berkeley, and at Princeton University, where she was Henry Charles Lea Professor of History and director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies. On retiring from Princeton in 1996 she returned to Toronto, where she continues to live, as Adjunct Professor of History and Anthropology and Professor of Medieval Studies. In 2010, she was awarded the Holberg International Memorial Prize as “one of the most creative historians writing today” whose work, in the wording of the award citation, “shows how particular events can be narrated and analyzed so as to reveal deeper historical tendencies and underlying patterns of thought and action.” In 2012, she was named Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest class within the order. In 2013, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama for “her insights into the study of history and her exacting eloquence in bringing the past into focus.” Davis’s books have all been translated into other languages: twenty-two in the case of The Return of Martin Guerre.

2015-2016

Johanna Drucker (UCLA)
“Analogue and Digital Histories of the Alphabet”
In Association with the Faculty of Information
Thursday, 8 October 2015, 4:15 pm
Abstract and Biography

Who knew what when about the origin and development of the alphabet? Answers to this question take us into a history of bibliographical antiquities, paleographical investigation, and graphical modes of knowledge transmission. The various “histories” that emerge from this record have distinct chronological foundations that embody belief systems about the age of the earth and the human record that have changed over time. Examining the analogue evidence of textual and visual information, as well as reflecting on the meta-level of historical process, offers insights and challenges for the ways we use digital humanities tools to visualize knowledge. This talk draws on the rich inventory of printed texts, manuscript records, inscriptions and evidence of antiquities to look at various alphabet histories in light of traditional and digital tools.

Johanna Drucker is the Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies at UCLA. She has published and lectured widely on topics related to digital humanities and aesthetics, visual forms of knowledge production, book history and future designs, graphic design, historiography of the alphabet and writing, and contemporary art. Her recent titles include SpecLab: Projects in Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing (Chicago, 2009) and the jointly authored Digital_Humanities (MIT, 2012) with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner and Jeffrey Schnapp. A collection of her essays, What Is? was published by Cuneiform Press in 2013, and Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (2014) appeared in the Harvard University Press MetaLab series. In addition to her academic work, Drucker has produced artist’s books and projects that were the subject of a retrospective, Druckworks: 40 years of books and projects, initiated at Columbia College in Chicago. Her artist’s books are represented in museum and library collections throughout the United States and Europe. In 2014 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Jennifer Graber (UT Austin)
“‘Zotom Is Busy Drawing a Book’: Reading Religion in Plains Indian Ledger Notebooks”
Thursday, 4 February 2016, 4:15 pm
In Association with the Master of Museum Studies Program (Faculty of Information) and the Department for the Study of Religion
Abstract and Biography

Historians of American Indian history have long struggled with the question of sources. Throughout the nineteenth century, many native societies on the Great Plains had neither scripted forms of their own languages nor many members literate in English. As a result, scholars dependent on traditional documentary sources have had few options for eliciting native perspectives on dramatic changes in their societies. A turn to material culture, however, opens up the evidentiary possibilities. Plains Indians produced rock art and painted tipis, as well as visual histories and notebooks full of drawings. Tracking changes in both the content and form of this visual production allows historians to access native reflections on their changing world.

This lecture explores Kiowa Indian drawings and calendars kept in ledger notebooks. Over the course of the nineteenth century, Kiowas created hundreds, if not thousands, of drawings and paintings in notebooks that circulated between Indian communities, American missionaries, military officials, and anthropologists. Through an examination of several Kiowa artists, this lecture asks how Kiowa forms of personal expression, history keeping, and reflection on encounters with the supernatural changed as a result of the move from visual production on natural materials to ledger books.

Jennifer Graber is a historian of religion in the United States specializing in inter-religious encounter and violence. Her first book, The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons and Religion in Antebellum America, explores the intersection of church and state during the founding of the nation’s first prisons. Her current project focuses on religious transformations in Indian and settler communities in Indian Territory over the course of the nineteenth century. Professor Graber teaches undergraduate classes on the history of religion in the United States, Native American religions, and the American West. She teaches graduate seminars on religion and violence, religion and empire, and approaches to the study of religion in the U.S.

Will Slauter (Univ. Paris Diderot – Institut universitaire de France)
“Who Owns the News? Journalism and Intellectual Property in Historical Perspective”
Thursday, 3 March 2016, 4:15 pm
In Association with the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy (Faculty of Law) and the Friends of the Victoria University Library
Abstract and Biography

Concerns about the piracy of news go back at least to the seventeenth century, when complaints involved counterfeit ballads hawked on the streets rather than articles reposted on the Internet. But with respect to copyright law, news publications—whatever their material form—have followed an unusual trajectory. This lecture will draw on a range of news publications (including broadsides, pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines) to consider long-term shifts in attitudes toward the copying and republication of news. It will compare developments in Great Britain and the United States from the seventeenth century through the early twentieth century. At several moments during this period, new forms of publication, new conceptions of journalism, and new modes of distribution led writers and publishers to try to claim exclusive rights over journalistic texts. While some proposed a special copyright for news, others sought to create standards about what could be copied and how such copied material should be acknowledged. By studying shifting attitudes toward the ownership of news alongside changes in how writers, editors, and printers worked, this lecture will offer a historical perspective on contemporary debates about journalism and intellectual property.

Will Slauter is an associate professor of English studies at Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7 and a member of the Institut universitaire de France (IUF). He received a PhD in history from Princeton University and has taught at Columbia University, Florida State University, and Université Paris 8 (2010-2015). He studies the history of authorship and publishing, with a particular interest in newspapers, and is currently working on a book about the history of copyright in journalism. This research has been supported by residential fellowships at the New York Public Library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Antiquarian Society (NEH Fellow 2015), and the Library of Congress (Kluge Fellow 2015-2016).

Alan Galey (University of Toronto)
“Bibliography for a Used Future: Finding the Human Presence in E-Books and Other Digital Artifacts”
Thursday, 24 March 2016, 4:00 pm
In Association with the Faculty of Information
Abstract and Biography

This presentation argues the case for bibliography and book history as disciplines uniquely equipped to recover the signs of human presence in digital artifacts—those humanizing dings, paint scratches, and coffee rings, as it were, that ground new technologies within human timescales and experiential worlds. The past several years have seen remarkable growth in textual scholarship that does not merely apply digital tools to the study of texts, but takes digital textuality itself as the object of study. Matthew Kirschenbaum is the recognized pioneer in applying textual scholarship to born-digital texts (especially works of electronic literature), and several others in the field have begun to do the same with materials such as video games, virtual worlds, e-books, print-on-demand digital books, and even large research databases. This range of ontological exploration might suggest a field dashing off in all directions at once, but I will argue that it represents the natural extension of bibliographical thinking into areas where it’s urgently needed—just as D.F. McKenzie called for in his later work, and as Andrew Prescott has called for more recently within the digital humanities.

That extension of bibliographical thinking to born-digital materials may be natural, but it is by no means straightforward. Fredson Bowers’s metaphorical description of bibliography’s goal—to “strip the veil of print from a text” to understand its history and transmission—may resonate even more with twenty-first century bibliographers faced with a veil of code, yet lacking methods to investigate beneath the surfaces of our screens. What might an artifact like an e-book reveal about the history and social contexts of its making, or the collaborative nature of its construction? How do we locate the significant differences between the surviving versions of a digital text, and what is at stake in their preservation and representation? In a born-digital context, how do form and meaning shape each other? This talk will explore these questions and related examples within the context of my current book project, The Veil of Code, which offers a series of case studies in born-digital bibliography.

Alan Galey is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, where he also teaches in the collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture. His research focuses on intersections between textual scholarship and digital technologies, especially in the context of theories of the archive and the history of new media prototyping and experimentation (print, digital, and otherwise). He has published on these topics in journals such as Shakespeare Quarterly, Literary and Linguistic Computing, College English and Archival Science, and has co-edited the book collection Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Form of the Book: Contested Scriptures (with Travis DeCook; Routledge, 2011). His article “The Enkindling Reciter: E-Books in the Bibliographical Imagination,” published in Book History in 2012, was awarded the Fredson Bowers Prize by the Society for Textual Scholarship. He was also given the Outstanding Instructor Award by the Master of Information Student Council for 2013-2014. His first monograph book, The Shakespearean Archive: Experiments in New Media from the Renaissance to Postmodernity, was published in 2014 by Cambridge University Press.

2014-2015

Leah Price (Harvard University)
“How To Lose Your Place in a Book”
In Association with Victoria College and the Friends of the Victoria University Library
Thursday, 23 October 2014, 4:15 pm
Abstract and Biography

“Literature is my Utopia,” Helen Keller quotably declared. Today, serious readers often credit the printed book with the power to annihilate space and time. The datelined newspaper and the digital book provide foils for that rapture, so far feebly emulated by e-reading interfaces that eschew an onscreen clock. Yet placeless reading is as hard-won a technology as ubiquitous computing. Over the millennia in which written matter has become smaller, lighter, and more foldable, reading has gradually unmoored itself from dedicated, even sacred times and places. Where readers had come to texts, texts began to come to readers. More recently, the paperback’s miraculous ability to reconcile durability with disposability and portability with impermeability has made bed, bath and beyond the frontiers that every subsequent reading technology is challenged to conquer: Kindle advertisements declare the iPad’s unreadability at the beach as conclusively as a 1958 expert predicted that microfilms would replace books only once “some genius develops a way for reading them everywhere that books can be read: in the subway, in the bathtub, in a fishing skiff.” This talk traces a history of changing attitudes toward reading on the move, from 1800 to the present, and concludes by asking how new technologies of site-specific reading are challenging the book’s function as a space in which to lose yourself.

Leah Price teaches English at Harvard University. Her books include How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton UP, 2012) and The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel (Cambridge UP, 2000). She edited Unpacking my Library: Writers and their Books (2011); Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture (with Pamela Thurschwell); and (with Seth Lerer) a special issue of PMLA on The History of the Book and the Idea of Literature. She writes on old and new media for the New York Times Book Review, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, San Francisco Chronicle, and Boston Globe. She is at work on a new book, Out of Print: Reading after Paper.

John Haines (Faculty of Music / Centre for Medieval Studies, U of T)
Title: Music as Commodity in the New World
Thursday, 27 November 2014, 4:15 pm
Abstract and Biography

The New World, so called by sixteenth-century Europeans, had desirable commodities to offer. During the first century of the European invasion of the Americas, music acted as a commodity, or at least as a kind of currency to obtain commodities. This happened mainly in two ways over the course of the sixteenth century. Firstly, Europeans used musical performances and instruments, in particular small bells, to lure and trade with Amerindians. Secondly, travel accounts and displays of captured natives, both intended to generate more and more European voyages to the Americas, often featured the strange and wonderful music of Amerindians. For Europeans, these musical performances had a visceral appeal partly because they looked and sounded strangely familiar. Amerindian music reminded them of their own musical heritage from the not quite eclipsed Middle Ages, of worlds and mentalities that were rapidly fading in capitalism’s first push. All too soon, music’s longstanding cosmic and spiritual power would be relegated to a mere means for the buying and selling of commodities. And such is its place in our time.

John Haines is professor of music and medieval studies at the University of Toronto. He has published on the music of the Middle Ages and its modern reception in a variety of journals, both musicological – from Early Music History to Popular Music – and non-musicological – from Romania to Scriptorium. His books include Eight Centuries of Troubadours and Trouvères: The Changing Identity of Medieval Music (2004) and Medieval Song in Romance Languages (2010). He is a contributor, among others, to The Cambridge Companion to French Music and The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Medievalism, both forthcoming. This year (2014), appeared two of his books, Music in Films on the Middle Ages: Authenticity vs. Fantasy (Routledge) and The Notory Art of Shorthand (Ars notoria notarie): A Curious Chapter in the History of Writing in the West (Louvain), as well as his edited collection of essays, Musique et littérature au Moyen Âge, for the Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes (Garnier). Most recently, he has been studying music of the Americas in the sixteenth century.

Matthew Hedstrom (University of Virginia)
“Sola Scriptura?: Book History and Religious Authority in the United States”
Thursday, 29 January 2015, 4:15 pm
In Association with the Centre for the Study of the United States
Abstract and Biography

Protestantism has been the dominant influence shaping both American religious history and the history of American book culture, as the drive for widespread literary, mass book dissemination, and the public school movement were each significantly driven by the religious imperative to access the Word. The Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura energized the first large-scale publishing project in North America, John Eliot’s Algonquin Bible of 1663. From these beginnings, through the nineteenth-century Bible and tract societies, to the Christian Booksellers Association of the present, the story of Protestantism in the United States has been inseparable from the drive to control and disseminate print. Yet all along, print has also served as a site of religious conflict and a tool of religious innovation and dissent, as examples ranging from Tom Paine and the Book of Mormon to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Oprah Winfrey make clear.

This lecture will attend to this dynamic of authority, to the role of print in the interplay of establishment and dissent in American religious life. Three themes structure the analysis: the relationship between scriptural and non-scriptural forms of print; the gendered dimensions of reading, literacy, and authorship; and the nature of print as commodity, and therefore as a site where market dynamics shape religion with particular potency. Through an examination of key examples across four centuries, this talk aims to consider a basic historiographical question: how do the frameworks of book history sharpen our understanding of authority in American religious history

Matthew Hedstrom is a historian of the United States specializing in religion and culture in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His overarching research interests are the social history of religious sensibilities and the cultural mechanisms of their production and propagation. His particular areas of teaching and research thus far have been religious liberalism, spirituality, the cultures and politics of pluralism, religion and race, and print culture. His first book, The Rise of Liberal Religion: Book Culture and American Spirituality in the Twentieth Century, employs novel sources in book history to tell the surprising story of religious liberalism’s cultural ascendancy in the twentieth century. The religious middlebrow culture of mid-century, Professor Hedstrom argues, brought psychological, mystical, and cosmopolitan forms of spirituality to broad swaths of the American middle class. He has also authored various articles, reviews, and reference works in American studies and American religious history. He is beginning work on a new book project on race and the search for religious authenticity from the Civil War through the 1960s.

Ian Williams (University College London)
“Becoming Normal? Law Printing in the 1630s”
Monday, 2 March 2015, 4:15 pm
In Association with the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy at the Faculty of Law and the Friends of the Victoria University Library
Abstract and Biography

False attributions of authorship, unauthorized printings, competing editions and complaints about quality were hardly unusual in early-modern printing. But these problems were virtually unheard of in relation to English legal printing after the grant of the monopoly patent in the 1550s. Nevertheless, they all appear in English legal printing from around 1630, despite the continued existence of the patent. In this paper I shall present the evidence that something changed in common-law printing around 1630 and that legal printing came to look much more like other parts of the printing trade. In doing so I hope to cast some light on changes in the nature of the law patent and in the relationship between the legal profession and legal printers.

Ian Williams is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Laws at University College London and has been a Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge, and at the Huntington Library. Ian’s research interests are in early-modern legal history, in particular legal scholarship, including law books and the Inns of Court, and legal theory. These interests come together in work on legal reasoning, where legal theory and legal scholarship are applied in individual cases, mixing the history of ideas with histories of the book and reading.

2013-14

Adrian Johns (University of Chicago)
“The Cultural Origins of the Printing Revolution”
In Association with the iSchool
Thursday, 3 October, 4:15 p.m. (J. R. de J. Jackson Lecture).
Podcast

Matt Cohen (University of Texas at Austin)
“A Brief History of Books in Indigenous North America”
In Association with the Centre for the Study of the United States
Thursday, 7 November, 4:15 p.m
Podcast

Michael Gamer (University of Pennsylvania)
“Recollection’s Intranquility”
In Association with the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy at the Faculty of Law
Thursday, 30 January, 4:15 p.m.

Francis Cody (University of Toronto)
“Publics and Crowds Revisited: On the Role of Print Capitalism in South Indian Politics”
Thursday, 5 March, 4:15 p.m.

Catherine Brown (University of Michigan)
“A Manuscript Present: Translation and Remediation in the Early Middle Ages”
In association with the Art Department, the Jackman Humanities Institute, the Centre for Comparative Literature and the Centre for Medieval Studies
Monday, March 17, 4:00 p.m.

2012-13

William St. Clair (School of Advanced Study University of London)
“Image and Word: towards a political economy of book illustration”
Wednesday, 3 October, 4:15 p.m. (J. R. de J. Jackson Inaugural Lecture).
Podcast

James Danky (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
“Protest on the Page and the Future of Print, Lecture in Two Parts”
Thursday, 15 November, 4:15 p.m
Podcast

John Bonnett (Brock University)
“Harold Innis, Information Management and the Topographic Revolution in Communication”
Thursday, 24 January, 4:15 p.m.
Podcast

Simon Stern (University of Toronto)
“Margins of Authority: Precedent and Citation in Early Legal Treatises”
Thursday, 7 March, 4:15 p.m.

 

2011-12

Bill Sherman (University of York)
“The Reader’s Eye: Between Annotation and Illustration”
Friday, 23 September
Podcast

Hester Blum (Penn State University)
“Polar Imprints”
Thursday, 17 November
Podcast

Yvan Lamonde (McGill University)
“Book History, Cultural History and Beyond”
Thursday, 19 January

Matthew Kirschenbaum (Maryland University)
“Track Changes: The Literary History of Word Processing”
Thursday, 1 March
Podcast

Deidre Lynch(University of Toronto)
“Recycled Paper: Readers’ Scrap-books in Late Georgian Literary Culture”
Thursday, 22 March
Podcast

 

2010-11

Arnold Lehman (Brooklyn Museum)
“A Perspective on Artists’ Books at the Brooklyn Museum”
Thursday, 23 September

Josiah Blackmore (University of Toronto)
“The Iberian Travels of The Book of Marco Polo
Thursday, 25 November

Ann Komaromi (University of Toronto)
“Samizdat: Material Texts and Extra-Gutenberg Publics”
Thursday, 20 January
Podcast

David Lurie (Columbia University)
“Titles of the Current Realm: Script, Language, and the Earliest Japanese Bibliographies”
Friday, 18 March
Podcast

2009-10

Michael F. Suarez, S.J. (University of Virginia)
“High Culture and Dodgy Commerce in Subscription Folios for the Aristocracy and Illuminati”
Friday 25 September

Amir Hassanpour (University of Toronto)
“Violence Against Books: Theoretical Questions and Empirical Evidence from the Middle East”
Thursday 19 November

François Furstenberg (Université de Montréal)
“Atlantic Slavery, Atlantic Freedom: George Washington, Slavery, and Abolitionism”
Friday 29 January

M. Michèle Mulchahey (Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of Toronto)
“The Pope, the Friar, and the Book: The Pontifical Institute’s MS. Bergendal 1 and the World of Bernard Gui”
Thursday 25 March

 

2008-09

Robert Gross (University of Connecticut)
“Was there a Reading Revolution in the New American Republic?”
Friday 3 October
Podcast

Richard Landon (University of Toronto)
“From Capell to Tanselle: Bibliography and Humanities Scholarship”
Wednesday 29 October
Podcast

Jeannine DeLombard (University of Toronto)
“The Virtues of Vice; Or, Resuscitating Early Black Atlantic Gallows Literature”
Tuesday 18 November
Podcast

Paul Nelles (Carleton University)
“Books, Communication and Exchange: The Frankfurt Book Fair and Early Modern Print Culture”
Friday 27 February
Podcast

Martha Driver (Pace University)
“Letter Perfect: A Brief History of Letter Forms and Their Uses in the Period of Transition from Manuscript to Print”
Thursday 19 March
Podcast

 

2007-08

Peter Stallybrass (University of Pennsylvania)
“Printing and the Invention of Manuscript”
Thursday 4 October

Wendy Griswold (Northwestern University; University of Oslo)
“Reading Class in Nigeria: Imperialism, Independence, and the Internet”
Thursday 1 November

Philip Oldfield (University of Toronto)
“Urchins, ogresses, and lymphads: British armorial bookbindings past and present”
Tuesday 27 November

Nancy Vogan (Mount Allison University)
“Eighteenth-century Manuscript Tunebooks: the Quest for the Fasola”
Thursday 28 February, 2008

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (Stanford University)
“Meta-books? Publishing in the Humanities—Revisited”
Thursday 20 March 20

Graduate Student Colloquium
Natalie Zemon Davis (Princeton University and the University of Toronto)
Margaret Carlyle (McGill University)
Ania Dymarz (University of Toronto)
Nadine Fladd (University of Western Ontario)
Bronwen Masemann (University of Toronto)
Vernon R. Totanes (University of Toronto)
Kyle Wyatt (University of Toronto)
Saturday, 3 February, 2008

 

2006-07

Kathryn Sutherland (University of Oxford)
“Reading Writing Surfaces: Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts”
Friday 29 September

David McGee (Co-Director of the Michael of Rhodes Project, Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Burndy Library, MIT)
“Michael of Rhodes Rediscovered: The Lost Book of a Medieval Mariner”
Friday 20 October

Marc-André Bernier (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)
“The Bibliotheca Rhetorum of the First Canadian Literati”
Thursday 16 November

Daniel Heath Justice (University of Toronto)
“’Herodotus of the Cherokees’: Historiography, Textual Sovereignty, and Emmet Starr’s History of the Cherokee Indians
Thursday 8 February 2007

Liliane Louvel (Université de Poitiers)
“Variations on the pictorial: The cartographic eye of the text”
Thursday 8 March

Graduate Student Colloquium
Peter W.M. Blayney (University of Toronto; Distinguished Fellow of the Folger Shakespeare Library)
Heather Ann Ladd (University of Toronto)
Geoffrey Little (University of Toronto)
Scott McLaren (University of Toronto
Heather Ann Ladd (University of Toronto)
22 March 2007

 

2005-06

James Secord (Cambridge University)
“The Laboratory of Print in the Age of Industry”
Friday 16 September

Oz Frankel (New School)
“’Print Statism’: Governments as Publishers in the Nineteenth Century and Beyond”
Thursday 20 October

Michael Groden (Université de Sherbrooke)
“James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Biography”
Thursday 17 November

Graduate Student Colloquium
Ira Nadel (University of British Columbia)
Professor Laura J. Murray (Queen’s University)
C. Paul Spurgeon, LL.B., (Vice President of Legal Services & General Counsel, The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN))
Dale Barleben (University of Toronto)
Nicholas Bradley (University of Toronto)
Trevor Cook (University of Toronto)
Eli MacLaren (University of Toronto)
Matthew Rimmer (Australian National University)
David Roh (University of California, Santa Barbara)
21 January 2006

Trevor Levere (University of Toronto)
“Dr. Thomas Beddoes (1760-1808): Chemistry, Medicine, and Books in an age of revolutions”
Thursday 2 February

Leslie Howsam (University of Windsor)
“Discipline and Narrative: historians, publishers and history books in Britain 1850-1914s”
Friday 10 March

 

2004-05

David L. Vander Meulen (University of Virginia)
“How to Read Book History”
Friday 24 September

Daniel Cohen (Case Western Reserve University)
“Martha Buck’s Copybook: New England Tragedy Verse and the Scribal Lineage of the American Ballad Tradition, 1760-1830”
Friday 22 October

Pierre Hébert (Université de Sherbrooke)
“Histoire de la censure et histoire du livre : Un dialogue nécessaire?”
Friday 22 October

Laura Murray (Queen’s University)
“The World after WIPO: Continuities and Discontinuities in the “Text Trade””
Wednesday 18 February 2005

Nick Mount (University of Toronto)
“When Canadian Literature Came from New York: The Example of Palmer Cox and His Brownies”
Tuesday 1 March

 

 

2003-04

Paul Needham (Princeton University)
“The Discovery of Gutenberg”
Friday 19 September

Sian Echard (University of British Columbia)
“The Ghost in the Machine: Digital Avatars of Medieval Manuscripts”
Friday 17 October

Ann Shteir (York University)
“From Goddess to Genre: Flora and Botany Books”
Wednesday 19 November

Gillian Fenwick (University of Toronto)
“Labouring in the Wordmines: Some Men and Women of Letters Since Carlyle”
Wednesday 11 February 2004

Will Straw (McGill University)
“Trafficking in Sensation: Scandal Periodicals 1910-1940”
Friday 5 March

 

2002-03

James McConica (University of Toronto)
“The Lost Library of Erasmus of Rotterdam”
Wednesday September 18

Michael Winship (University of Texas)
“Producing American Literature in the Nineteenth Century”
Friday October 18

Ina Ferris (University of Ottawa)
“Bibliomania in Early Nineteenth-Century Scotland: The Emergence of the Bannatyne Club”
Friday November 22

Paul Werstine (University of Western Ontario)
“Author-izing Shakespeare: Twentieth-Century Editing of the Bard”
Tuesday 14 January 2003

Carole Gerson (Simon Fraser University)
“Pauline Johnson in Print”
Friday 21 March

 

2001-02

Christopher Ricks (Boston University)
“L’histoire du livre and its weakness for des histoires”
Friday 28 September

Juliet McMaster (University of Alberta)
“The Book and the Child Writer”
Friday 26 October

Heather Murray (University of Toronto, Department of English)
“The Log Shanty Book-Shelves: Reverend Henry Scadding’s Book Displays at the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, 1886-1898”
Tuesday 27 November

Alina Payne (University of Toronto, Department of Fine Art)
“Text and Image in Architectural Books of the Renaissance”
Tuesday 26 February

Graduate Student Colloquium
Sarah Brouillette (English)
Greta Golick (FIS)
Shannon MacRae (English)
Wednesday 6 February

Bill Bell (Centre for the History of the Book, University of Edinburgh)
“On Prospero’s Island: Images of the Reader in Exile”
Wednesday 27 March

 

2000-01

Isabel Grundy (University of Alberta)
“‘Dancing Country Dances’: Pattern, Expectation and Freedom in Eighteenth-Century Women Readers”
Friday 29 September

George Elliott Clarke (University of Toronto)
“First Printings: Examining the Texts of the First African-Canadian Poets, Playwrights, and Novelists”
Wednesday 1 November

Paul Saenger (Newberry Library, Chicago)
“The Graphic Origins of the Genealogical Tree”
Wednesday 22 November

Tom Conley (Harvard University)
“The Cartographic Impulse in Early Modem Lyric”
Friday 19 January

Graduate Student Colloquium
David Pantalony (IHPST)
Janusz Prsychodzen (French)
Michael Ulyot (English)
Tuesday 13 February

Peter Blayney (University of Toronto)
“England’s First Widow Printer: The Life, Times, and Kin of Elizabeth Pickering Jackson Cholmeley Cholmeley”
Wednesday 28 March

 

1999-2000

Roger Chartier (École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)
“The Stage and the Page: Theatrical Performances. and Printed Texts in Early Modem Europe”
Friday 1 October

Lissa Paul (University of New Brunswick)
“Consuming Passions: The Politics and Poetics of Contemporary Picture Books”
Thursday 21 October

Visit to Sablé Collection, Centre for Nineteenth-century French Studies St Michael’s College Library, Introduction by Yannick Portebois (Department of French)
Tuesday 9 November

David Mason (David Mason Books),
“Serving the Book: A Bookseller’s Perspective”
Tuesday 30 November

Robin Jackson (Department of English)
“Revisiting The Deserted Village: the History of the Book and Literary Interpretation”
Thursday 3 February

Graduate Student Colloquium
Kirsten Schñlz (Music)
Maria Zytaruk (English)
Mark Crane (History)
Tuesday 29 February

Ramsay Cook (Dictionary of Canadian Biography)
“Making a Modem Biographical Dictionary”
Thursday 23 March

 

1998-99

T.H. Howard-Hill (University of South Carolina)
“The Cost of Cheap Literature”
Thursday 24 September

Katharine Lochnan and John O’Neill (Art Gallery of Ontario)
“Artists’ Papers: Connoisseurship Issues”
Thursday 15 October

Bert Hall (University of Toronto)
“Texts and Technology: 1300-1650”
Wednesday 18 November

Graduate Student Colloquium
Andrew Bethune (English)
Yannik Portebois (French)
Ian Singer (English)
Tuesday 26 January

James Carley (York University)
“The Books of Henry the Eighth’s Wives: Physical Evidence and Cultural Significance”
Wednesday 24 February

Jay Fliegelman (Stanford University)
“Reading the Writing in Books: Interrogating Antebellum American Inscriptions”
Friday 26 March

 

1997-98

Robert Darnton (Princeton University)
“From the History of Books to the History of Communication: The Case of Pre-Revolutionary Paris”
Thursday 25 September

Exhibition tour
A tour of the exhibition, “The Land of Enchantment: Fairy Tales from Perrault to Today”, with Leslie McGrath, Head of the Osborne Collection of Children’s Books
Thursday 23 October

Michael Millgate (University of Toronto)
“On Not Writing Literary Biography”
Wednesday 19 November

Graduate Student Colloquium
Jenny McKenney (Medieval Studies)
Susan Murley (English)
Sharon Ragaz (English)
Tuesday 27 January

James Raven (Mansfield College, Oxford)
“Mapping the London Book Trade in the Eighteenth Century”
Friday 27 February

G.E. Bentley, Jr. (University of Toronto)
“The Economics of Printing Blake’s Illustrated Books”
Monday 23 March

 

1996-97

Jerome I. McGann (University of Virginia)
“Electronic Text Editing: The Rossetti Edition”
Thursday 26 September

Robert Fulford (Columnist, Globe and Mail)
“Conducting an Education in Public”
Wednesday 30 October

Antonette Di Paolo Healey (University of Toronto and Dictionary of Old English)
“Words, Story, History: The Mapping of Meaning and Toronto’s Dictionary of Old English”
Monday 25 November

Graduate Student Colloquium
Jennifer Andrews (English)
Marija Dalbello-Loviri (FIS)
Brian Greenspan (English)
Wednesday 29 January

David Olson (OISE)
“Writing, Cognition, and Consciousness”
Thursday 27 February

Randy McLeod (University of Toronto)
“The Printing of the First Edition of Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier at the Aldine Press, Venice, 1528”
Tuesday 25 March

 

1995-96

Natalie Zemon Davis (Princeton University)
“Censorship and Scholarship: Learned Periodicals During the German Occupation of France (1940-1944)”
Friday 29 September

Douglas M. Gibson (Publisher, McClelland & Stewart)
“The Book in Canada Now: A Publisher’s Perspective”
Tuesday 24 October

Heather Jackson (University of Toronto)
“‘People aren’t supposed to write in our books’: The vicious habit of marginalising”
Wednesday 22 November

Lee Patterson (Yale University)
“Establishing the Canterbury Tales”
Tuesday 30 January 1996

Graduate Student Event
Opportunities for Research in Book Studies
Joseph Black (English)
Jennifer Connor (IHPST)
Adrienne Hood (History)
Tuesday 13 February

Yvan Lamonde (McGill University)
“L’histoire de l’imprirné: Possibilities, Strategies, Limits”
Wednesday 20 March 1996

 

1994-95

G. Thomas Tanselle (Guggenheim Foundation and Columbia University)
“Printing History and Other History”
Wednesday, 28 September

Thomas F. Staley (Humanities Research Center, University of Texas)
“The History of the Text of Joyce’s Ulysses”
Monday, 3 October

François Roudaut (University of Rouen)
“L’influence de l’imprimé sur les habitudes de lecture au XVIe siècle”
Wednesday, 26 October

William Stoneman (Princeton University)
“The Scientific Analysis of the 36-line Bible”
Tuesday, 8 November

S.P. Rosenbaum (University of Toronto)
“Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press”
Wednesday, 18 January

Michael Treadwell (Trent University)
“1695-1995: Reflections on the Tercentenary of the Deregulation of the Press in England”
Wednesday 22 March

Upcoming Events

  1. Alexandra Gillespie (University of Toronto), “What Was the Cost of Books in Chaucer’s Time?”

    Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 4:15 PM - 6:00 PM
  2. Jonathan Senchyne (University of Wisconsin-Madison), “Slavery and the History of the Book in America”

    Thursday, March 1, 2018 @ 4:15 PM - 6:00 PM
  3. 2018 BHPC Graduate Student Colloquium

    Saturday, March 10, 2018 @ 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  4. Annual General Meeting

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018 @ 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

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