Call for Proposals

The SHARP 2017 “Technologies of the Book” conference CFP is now closed.

We are pleased to announce the 25th annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP). SHARP 2017: “Technologies of the Book,” will be held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, from Friday, June 9th to Monday, June 12th, 2017, and there will be an optional excursion to Vancouver, BC, on Tuesday June 13th. SHARP 2017 will take place in conjunction with the annual Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI;, which runs from June 5th-9th and June 12th-16th 2017.

Technologies of the book have been shifting, multiplying, and evolving for centuries. In Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, 1450–1830, David McKitterick wrote: “each new technology does not replace the previous one. Rather, it augments it, and offers alternatives” (2003, 20). Media theorist Lisa Gitelman reminds us in Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents that “The meanings of media are not prescribed, we know, but rather evolve amid the conditions of use” (2014, 137). In Reading, Writing, Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound (2014), Lori Emerson characterizes this process as “readingwriting” when the conditions of use are digital—that is, one simultaneously inscribes and creates while navigating online or electronic media environments: writing while reading, and vice versaThe SHARP 2017 theme, “Technologies of the Book,” aims to encapsulate the long history of technological transformations of authoring, reading, and publishing, as well as the book’s longstanding role as a technology, and the evolving ways that individuals interact with medias. How can we examine the book’s past, present, and future through the conceptual framework of technologies?

The conference theme, “Technologies of the Book,” may be approached from several angles, including, but not limited to:

1.   The history of the book as a technology, across the centuries: Historical formats and functions; The role of the book in society and the social history of print; The mechanisms of knowledge production and dissemination; Print cultures and networks; The codex as a technology

2. The role of the reader: Annotation; Conservation and preservation; Interaction, exploration, and readingwriting

3. The digital book: E-books, online journals, digital editions; Fan fiction, self-publishing, and social media; Copyright and ownership of digital books; Materiality

4. Digital-specific technologies: Remediation, digitization, and standards development; Tools for authoring, reading, and publishing; Digital projects that focus on historical books, manuscripts, and other textual artefacts

5.   Futures of the book: The role and technologies of institutions (public vs. private) in curating/preserving book culture’s pasts and futures; Possible directions for design and interaction; Potential forms and formats; Shifts in ideas of authorship and publishing; Technological failures of the book

This list of topics is not, by any means, exhaustive, and participants are encouraged to think creatively about the technologies of the book, including regarding form, format, support, material, and production. The conference also welcomes proposals for papers and panels on any topic related to the history of the book and print culture, but preference may be given to those that engage in some way with the conference theme.

Submissions: Proposals must be submitted electronically via the conference website. The entrance to the submission form is at the bottom of the page; please scroll down to find the link.

SHARP sessions are generally 90 minutes long, composed of three maximum 20-minute papers plus a discussion period. Proposals for individual papers must include a title, an abstract (max. 400 words), and a short biography of the presenter (max. 100 words). Proposals are also welcomed for full three-paper panels, lightning talks, posters, and digital project demonstrations. Proposals for full panels must include a title and an abstract (max. 300 words) that outlines the main theme(s) of the panel. In addition, the proposal must include individual titles, abstracts (max. 400 words), and short biographies (max. 100 words) for each participant in the panel. Please use the ‘Add Author’ button to list all the participants. The abstract box should included the abstract for the panel plus the titles and abstracts of the individual presentations. Do not include any speakers’ names in this box. Please indicate if you already have someone to chair the panel; otherwise, a chair will be assigned to you. Proposals for 5 minute lightning talks, poster presentations and digital project demonstrations must include a title, abstract (max. 400 words), and short biography (max. 100 words) for presenters. Of note, basic audio-visual technology will be provided for sessions, but digital project presenters are encouraged to bring their own laptop, as this session will take form of a poster session-styled Digital Projects Showcase.

We are pleased to welcome proposals in all languages of our community; note that the chief working language of past gatherings has been English.

Deadline: The deadline for all submissions is November 30th 2016. The program committee will send notifications of its selection in February 2017.

Controlled Submission Vocabulary: For the conference proposal keyword field, please draw on the below suggestions. This vocabulary is meant to be indicative, not prescriptive; if you find that the appropriate terminology is missing from this list, please use the term “Other”.
Geographical Focus: Africa; Asia, British Empire; Europe; North America; Roman Empire; Oceania; South America (for further categorization of specific countries, please click here).
Historical Period: Pre-Codex; Incunabula; Medieval; 16th Century; 17th Century; 18th Century; 19th Century; 20th Century; 21st Century
Topics: Artist’s Books; Authorship; Bibliography; Bindings; Book Arts; Book Trade; Bookbinding; Bookselling; Censorship; Cheap Print; Children’s Literature; Collecting; Colonial; Copyright; Digital Culture; Digital Humanities; Editing; Editors; Ephemera; Illustration; GIS; Graphic Novels; Image and Text; Libraries; Literary Agency/Agents; Literacy; Manuscript; Maps and Cartography; Marginalia; Materiality of Texts; Media Ecology; Music; Newspapers; Papermaking; Paratextual Elements; Periodicals; Postcolonial; Print Culture; Printing; Publishing; Reading; Reception; Scribal Culture; Self-publishing; Serials/Serialization; Technologies of Writing; Technology of Text Production; Theories of the Book; Translation; Typography; Women

Membership: Membership in SHARP is required for all presenters. Membership is not necessary for the submission of a proposal, but those whose proposals are accepted must join SHARP or renew their membership for 2016–17 before registering for the conference. 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 so when submitting your proposal. There will be reduced registration fees for those attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) and SHARP, and please also note that there are tuition scholarships available to DHSI attendees.

Funding: SHARP is able to provide a limited number of travel grants to graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and independent scholars; these bursaries can also be used to contribute towards the additional costs of care for any attendee. If you wish to be considered for such a grant, please state this in the Comments for the Conference Director box when submitting your proposal. If you are proposing a panel and one or more members of the panel are seeking support, please give their names in this box. There will be reduced registration fees for those attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) and SHARP, and please also note that there are tuition scholarships available to DHSI attendees.