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CALL FOR PAPERS: Books Beyond Reading: Uses, Reuses, and Abuses of Textual Objects

CALL FOR PAPERS: Books Beyond Reading: Uses, Reuses, and Abuses of Textual Objects
Time: Dec 14th, 12:01 am End: Dec 14th, 11:59 pm
Interest Categories: South Asian, History (FAS), History & Philosophy of Science & Technology (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), East Asian Studies (FAS), Book History/Print Culture, 2000-

The University of Toronto's Book History and Print Culture Collaborative Program is happy to announce that their Annual Graduate Student Colloquium will be held on March 10th, 2018. Please find attached the Call for Papers.

Books Beyond Reading: Uses, Reuses, and Abuses of Textual Objects

“Shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,”i the “counselors who never change,”ii “worn-out prostitutes,”iii or “tree flakes encased in dead cow.”iv If books were only for reading, people could not generate such vivid metaphors for them. Indeed, books do many things, and much is done with them. A book is “an axis of innumerable relationships,” both reinforcing and resisting exercises of imagination and power. Books have been burned, eaten, smoked, collected, sculpted, buried, recycled, decorated, shredded, planted, worn, and weaponized. They have been used as instruments of oppression and deployed as colonial agents. They have operated in the service of subversion and liberation. In other words, the usefulness and influence of books extends beyond narrative, beyond language, and beyond reading.
As such, the theme of this year’s colloquium is “Books Beyond Reading: Uses, Reuses, and Abuses of Textual Objects.” We invite interdisciplinary approaches to producing, consuming, or understanding books (etc.) in ways that challenge conventional narratives about inscribed objects as surfaces for passive consumption. We seek to explore the following questions: What do we do with books and documents in addition to reading them? Under what conditions have people used textual objects for non-reading purposes, and for whose benefit? How does the study of these uses influence the politics of knowledge production today?

We welcome applications from graduate students, independent scholars, and emerging academics working in any discipline, time period, and geographical region.
Possible approaches and topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
• How technologies mediate the production and use of textual objects, from hypertext to wampum to letterpress
• Uses of literacy and inscribed objects in resisting and/or reinforcing colonial power
• Books as sites for intellectual labour
• The repurposing of existing books for new artistic and intellectual aims
• Books as prized, collectible, contested, or dangerous items

• Textual objects as circulating players in economies and ecologies
• Disrupting narratives of linear progress from oral to written communication systems and associated concepts of literacy
• Books as instruments and conduits of social justice

We are delighted to host keynote presentations by Dr. Heidi Bohaker (Department of History, University of Toronto) and Dr. Bhavani Raman (Department of History, University of Toronto; Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough; Centre for South Asian Studies, Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs).

Submission Instructions:
For solo paper proposals, please submit a single document containing the following elements:
1. Abstract (150–200 words)
2. Biographical statement for the presenter (100–150 words) including name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), and email address
For panel proposals, please submit a single document containing the following elements:
1. Brief overview of the proposed panel theme
2. Abstract for each panel presenter (150–200 words)
3. Biographical statement of each presenter (100–150 words)

The deadline for the submission of paper and panel proposals is December 14th, 2017.
To submit an abstract or for further inquiries, please contact the colloquium organizers at: bhpccolloquium@gmail.com.

i Czes?aw Mi?osz, “And Yet the Books,” trans. Czes?aw Mi?osz and Robert Hass, in Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry, ed. Peter Forbes (London: Penguin UK, 1999), 512.
ii Margaret Widdemer, “Old Books,” in The Old Road to Paradise (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1918), 54.
iii Paul Duguid, “Thought for Food,” quoting W. J. T. Mitchell, ICDL Meetings, quoted in Leah Price, How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012), 5.
iv Jorge Luis Borges, “A Note on (toward) Bernard Shaw,” in Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings, ed. Donald A. Yates and James E. Irby (New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1962), 203.

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