The Global History of the Book (1780 to the present), An International Workshop, 4-5 December 2014

full name / name of organization: 
Ertegun Graduate Programme in the Humanities, Oxford Centre for Global History and the Postcolonial Writing and Theory Seminar, University of Oxford
contact email:

The Global History of the Book (1780 to the present) is a two-day interdisciplinary workshop organised by doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in conjunction with the English Faculty’s Postcolonial Writing and Theory Seminar, the Oxford Centre for Global History and the University of Oxford’s Ertegun Graduate Programme in the Humanities, to be held on the 4th and 5th of December 2014 at Ertegun House, Oxford.

The aim of the workshop is to explore the global alongside the local, transnational and inter-imperial, textual and intertextual, dimensions of book history. Be it the book’s ability to travel, or its intervention in cultural politics, we are particularly interested in papers that will demonstrate the crucial role that writing and print plays in the making and materialising of global history.

The workshop will have two main strands. The first strand comprises a panel discussion with Antoinette Burton and Isobel Hofmeyr, the editors of Creating an Imperial Commons: Books that Shaped the Modern British Empire, a collection of essays forthcoming from Duke University Press (2014). They will focus on the critical implications of their project and new trends in Book History. This will be followed by readings and discussion with other contributors to the volume. The second strand will involve papers by graduate students and early career researchers, furthering the conversation of the plenary panels.

Papers should be approximately 20 minutes long, and abstracts no more than 300 words. Abstracts, along with a short bionote (100 words) should be emailed to by 15 June 2014.

Topics to be investigated include, but are not restricted to:

The book as worlded technology and the global politics of print
Travelling/transnational books and texts
The book as oceanic channel, the portable book
The relation between the book and other forms of print culture –pamphlets/newspapers/broadsheets etc.
Cultural translation and reception of texts/books – adaptations, appropriations of “canonical” texts
Documents/books and colonial bureaucracy
Interactions of oral and written cultures
Book cultures as “imperial commons”
Book types and genres— textbooks, primers, handbooks, manuals, travel guides, etc.
Publishing houses, publishing networks, the history of print
Approaches to postcolonialism and Postcolonial/Global book history
Sponsors and prize cultures, reception and the cult of the bestseller
World forms and global visions
Anglobalization via the book

Convenors: Elleke Boehmer, Dominic Davies, Rouven Kunstmann, Benjamin Mountford, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay and Asha Rogers

cfp categories: 
modernist studies