Thursday, 29 March 2012

CFP: Revealing The Reader. A Symposium

Recent developments in the history of the book demonstrate that an interest in the material history of print culture inevitably leads us to the question of readers. How well can we understand the past, present and future of print culture without examining the uses to which it is put by its audience? This question serves not only to remind us of the primacy of the economic relationship between readers, writers and publishers, but draws our attention to the variety of cultural, social, political, and interpersonal roles that reading has played and continues to play.

The "Revealing The Reader" symposium at Monash's Centre for the Book, aims to bring together scholars with a common interest in contemporary and historical reading practices with the aim of showcasing current research in this rapidly expanding field, and providing a forum for discussion and debate on the state of reading research.

Paper proposals may address topics such as:

• Case studies of reading practices and reading communities
• The relationships between reading communities, publishers, authors etc.
• The relationships between reading communities and genre
• Methodologies for researching readers and their practices
• The material trace of reading
• Historical and contemporary evidence of reading
• Locations of reading
• The relationship between individual readers and reading communities
• Histories of reading
• Technologies of reading
• The role of existing and emerging technologies in revealing readers

This list is not exhaustive, and the conveners welcome submissions from researchers whose work investigates reading practices and readers from the perspective of the sociology of literature, book history, literary studies, mixed methods research, reader response theory, history, cultural studies, and the study of material culture. Submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers are particularly welcome.

Keynote speakers:
Danielle Fuller (University of Birmingham): a chief investigator in the Beyond The Book research project into mass reading events.
Susan Martin (La Trobe University): co-author of Sensational Melbourne: Reading, Sensation Fiction and Lady Audley's Secret in the Victorian Metropolis.
Julie Rak (University of Alberta): author of a forthcoming study on the memoir boom in North America.

Please email 300-word proposals for 20 minute papers, and 50-word presenter bio-notes by Friday 27 April 2012 to conference organisers Anna Poletti and Patrick Spedding. Pre-constituted panel proposals welcome. Please include the conference title in the subject heading of your email.

The symposium will follow a one day masterclass, led by Danielle Fuller, on Thursday 28 June at the Wheeler Centre Melbourne as part of the "Readers and Reception" Masterclass series, presented by the National Centre for the Australian Studies, School of Journalism, Australian and Indigenous Studies. Information on the Masterclass series is available from or

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