The conference will be open to papers dealing with any aspect of the study of print culture, editorial theory and practice, and bibliography. However, there will be a special emphasis on imperial and colonial and postcolonial histories of the book, from the moment oral cultures met print cultures up to the present.
One main focus will be on the geographic region of the Asia-Pacific, and the role of imperial structures of book production, distribution and reception within the region. Australia and New Zealand will be relevant here since very developed projects to write their histories of print culture are in progress. But we also invite papers which survey the archival and other sources for the writing of a book history for other countries of the region or which pursue relevant themes.
These could include relationships between colonial authors and metropolitan publishers, questions of copyright, methods of distribution, publishing and its effects within the regional countries, literacy and the teaching of reading, book reviewing and other modes of reception.
Another main focus will be on the methodology of the history of the book:
To what extent does the pursuit of national histories of the book distort the phenomena it seeks to explain? Is an international history of the book a viable alternative, and what shape(s) might it take?
To what extent can or should the history and historiography of the book engage with literary criticism, and literary and cultural theory? How do we bridge the divide between the empiricism and the theory, particularly now that the 1980s and 1990s moment of theory seems to be ebbing?
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