CFP: Book and Text Studies (South Africa) (9/1/06; 4/2/07-4/4/07)

full name / name of organization: 
John Gouws
contact email: 

First Call for Papers

Centre for the Book, Cape Town

A World Elsewhere: Orality, Manuscript and Print in Colonial and
Post-Colonial Cultures

An international conference to be held at the Centre for the Book,
Cape Town, 2-4 April 2007

Please send abstracts (500 words maximum) or proposals for sessions by
1 September 2006 to Mark Espin, PO Box 15254, Vlaeberg, Cape Town
8018, South Africa; or ideally by e-mail to, and
cc to A preliminary programme should be announced by
1 December 2006.

The conference will address a wide range of questions relating to `the
history of the book' in colonial and post-colonial contexts. Relevant topics

* national and transnational communities of letters;
* alternative public spheres;
* censorship;
* the history of reading and reading theories;
* reviewing and criticism;
* authorship;
* sociologies of the text;
* text and image;
* the economies of cultural prestige;
* media history;
* the cultures of collecting;
* library history;
* literacy;
* oral cultures;
* orality and print;
* printing and publishing history;
* the marketing and distribution of books;
* the electronic text;
* and the future of the book.

As a sub-theme, it is hoped that the conference will address issues
relating to the identification, preservation and dissemination of, and
access to, Southern African textual culture, at a time when the
heritage of the past is threatened and the outlook for the future is
uncertain. The purpose is to bring together all stakeholders:
academics working in the fields of Textual Studies, Book and Cultural
History, the Media, Anthropology, and new and old technologies of the
text, archivists, librarians, educationalists, publishers, public
administrators, funding bodies and government. It is hoped that
special attention will be given to the development of protocols for
recording Southern African orature and performance art. The purpose of
the conference is to examine the present and to plan for the future:
how do we ensure that future generations have access to our past,
present and future textual cultural heritage? We would welcome the
participation of international delegates whose experience elsewhere
could inform our deliberations.

Through an engagement with questions of identifying and maintaining
material resources, and enabling access to the continuing Southern
African textual heritage, the conference seeks to investigate a
broader set of theoretical themes around texts and textuality. Have
particular configurations of South African society produced unique
understandings of what texts are and how they might be used? Have
there been styles of reading, interpretation and textual use in the
past that have dropped from view? (For example, early African
Christianity has produced interesting forms of divinely inspired
reading and writing.) What kinds of different relationships,
institutions and communities have been built up in and through texts,
and in what ways are they peculiarly South African? Are there
analogues elsewhere? How might we understand such practices, and in
what ways should they influence protocols for the maintenance of, and
access to, cultural heritages?

--John GouwsDepartment of EnglishRhodes UniversityGrahamstownn 6140South AfricaTel. +27 46 6038401/2Fax +27 46 6222264 ========================================================== From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List Full Information at or write Jennifer Higginbotham: ==========================================================Received on Sat Feb 11 2006 - 14:45:29 EST