Visual and Material Literature
March 14-16, 2014
The Eighth Annual University of Ottawa English Graduate Conference
Robert Darnton’s 1982 characterization of the growing field of book history as “interdisciplinarity run riot” in many ways continues to describe the state of the field in 2013. The journal Book History, founded in 1998, declared broadly that book history is “the entire history of written communication.” David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery locate the twentieth century origins of the field in “disciplines such as Bibliography, Literary Studies, and Economic and Social History.” The common ground of these positions remains, of course, the book-object. But in 2013, digital forces are exerting pressures on the material foundations of book culture — and on the field of book history — that scholars must confront. This conference will provide an opportunity to re-evaluate our engagement with the materiality of literature at a historical moment when those foundations are at their most tenuous.
What is the enduring relevance of studying the material dimensions of literature? How does paratextuality shape the work we do as literary scholars? What can scholars of different eras learn from one another about navigating the visual and material dimensions of their respective literatures and critical challenges?
We welcome irreverent and oppositional perspectives. We welcome submissions from students in all disciplines. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Proposals should be no more than 300 words in length and must be submitted, along with a brief biographical note, to uOttawa.email@example.com by December 1, 2013. We will notify applicants of our decisions by January 1, 2014. Questions can be directed to Neal Hackler and Cameron Anstee at the conference email address.