The Future of the Medieval Book

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

What is the future of medieval manuscripts? Scholars have for decades been interested in the history of their production and the social environments, institutions, and mechanics of their production; these concerns have constituted what we all consider the “history” of the book. Yet, how do we imagine our futures of conserving and interacting with these materials? Much like monks who spent hours consuming their texts through the practice of lectio divina, we now also consume these materials in the act of studying them. Only, holy reading positioned the reader to focus on his present, where we interact with old books to discover as much as we can about their past. We have created critical editions, we have built reading rooms, and we have based our careers around this very important paradigm. Scholars since the late twentieth-century have become concerned with the future by way of caring about the past. How do consume books as good patrons, studiers, and stewards, or how do we equip others to do so?


This panel welcomes papers that cover a range of interdisciplinary topics regarding the cultures of medieval artifacts including their media histories and their media futures. How has a manuscript been represented through print, photography, and digital media? Inevitably, approaches will vary in theory and practice from responsibility in archiving, approaches to and critiques of digital archives, software versioning, interoperability, and visualization technology. Other topics are welcome, including, but not limited to: paleographical / media studies, media archeology, text-encoding, histories of the book, and art-historical / sociology of texts.


Proposals in 250-300 words should be emailed to the arganizer directly at by April 15.