Call for Papers: Book Culture from Below - The 18th Annual SHARP Conference

full name / name of organization: 
The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)
contact email: 


Book Culture from Below - The 18th Annual SHARP Conference
17-21 August 2010, Helsinki

Organizers: The Society for the History or Authorship, Reading and Publishing, University of Helsinki, The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland, Finnish Literature Society, The Nordic-Baltic-Russian Network on the History of Books, Libraries and Reading, and Nordic Centre for Medieval Studies

Keynote speakers and panel discussions

The conference is pleased to present two keynote speakers:

* Professor Martyn Lyons (University of New South Wales)
* Professor Ruth B. Bottigheimer (Stony Brook University, New York)

The conference will also include three panel discussions on the main theme Book Culture from Below:

* Conceptual re-evaluations from below
* Exposing the oral and literary background of fairy tales
* How the aspect "from below" changes book history

Book Culture from Below

The conference theme "Book Culture from Below" emphasizes the book culture of peasants, the laboring classes and other under-represented and oppressed groups, especially their independence and initiative in creating, using and deciphering printed works and print culture. In keeping with the SHARP spirit, we welcome proposals on all aspects of book history, but especially those that address issues and questions related to the conference theme, for example:

* How can the "from below" perspective be applied to book history? How does this perspective intersect with class, race, gender and ideology?
* Who are the readers, writers, publishers and distributors "from below"? Which forms of authorship and educational practices have been available to them?
* How can differences and interactions among educated, autodidactic and uneducated readers, writers and publishers be conceptualized?
* How can the various forms of literacy and illiteracy be recognized and analyzed?
* Which kinds of writings and publications are relevant for studying book culture from below? Which bibliographical and book history methods and approaches can we use to study them?
* How can the complex interaction between folklore and book culture, orality and literacy be re-evaluated? What are the functions of the manuscript medium in relation to the oral and the printed media?
* What are the intersections of subaltern and post-colonial studies with book history?
* In which ways does the "from below"-perspective challenge hegemonic national histories? What are the possibilities of transnational studies in this field?

We invite not only researchers of print culture but also those studying manuscripts (whether medieval or modern era) to the conference.


The conference is open to both individual presentations and complete panel proposals (including three speakers and a chairperson). Each speaker will be given 20 minutes for the presentation and 10 minutes for discussion. All sessions will last 90 minutes. The proposals should be sent in English, which is the main language of the conference.

Proposals can be sent only by using the proposal form available at the conference website []. The official on-line submission process has been opened on 15 September 2009. The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2009. No proposals will be considered after the deadline.

Participants must be members of SHARP in order to present at the conference. It is the responsibility of presenters to ensure that they are members by the time of the registration. For information on membership, please visit the SHARP website at

Travel grants

SHARP is able to provide a limited number of travel grants to graduate students and independent scholars. If you wish to be considered for such a grant, please state this when submitting your proposal.

Contact addresses

For more information, please visit the conference's website at

The conference website and information can also be found via

Inquiries concerning the conference should be sent to
sharp-2010 (at)