Tuesday 10 May 2016

CFP: Marginalia Conference and Masterclass, 23 September 2016

Below is the CFP for the Marginalia Conference and Masterclass that Paul Tankard, Shef Rogers and I have been organising for the last few months—and which has occupied so much of my "free' time that I have done little more than update old posts on this blog. More details will follow as they become available.

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The Centre for the Book, Monash University, in collaboration with the Centre for the Book, University of Otago and The State Library of Victoria, are hosting:

Marginal Notes: Social Reading and the Literal Margins.
 A One-Day Conference and Masterclass.

Keynote Speakers: Prof. Bill Sherman, Director of Research and Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Prof. Pat Buckridge, Griffith University, Queensland

Conference date: Friday 23 September.
Venue: State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

There are margins to both traditional print- and paper-based texts as well as virtual texts. Whatever text they surround, encompass, define or limit, margins are the spaces in which ideas are contested and debated. Historically, readers have used the physical margin as a space in which to respond to the voice of the author, and to communicate with other readers. As it has become increasingly easy to add marginal notes to virtual texts, and for readers to share their electronic marginalia with each other, scholars are able to scrutinise marginalia in new ways and to reconstruct social reading practices on an unprecedented scale. While contemporary and historical annotation practices have much in common, and there is much to be learned about historical practices from studies of contemporary marginalia, historical practices raise unique and challenging interpretative issues of their own. And, although a range of recent studies have increased our knowledge concerning the distribution and availability of books, the identity and diversity of readers and annotators, the spread and even the nature of literacy in the early modern and modern periods, there remain significant challenges for scholars encountering marginalia.

This conference will investigate marginalia in texts from the early modern period to the present, with a particular focus on the interpretative challenges posed by marginalia in the literal margin—whether encountered directly, via digital surrogate or in mediated form. Topics may include:
  • Studies of historical marginalia and annotation
  • Theoretical models and methodological protocols for conceptualising marginalia
  • The reproduction of marginalia in virtual environments
  • The location and use of marginalia via digital surrogate
  • Studies of virtual marginalia that shed light on historical practices
  • Changing or limiting contemporary reader practices in virtual environments
  • Marginal notations as “signs of engagement”
  • The nature and interpretative challenges of pictures, doodles, stains and traces etc.
  • Interpretative issues posed by anonymous vs. celebrity marginalia
  • Particular annotators, or particular annotated texts
  • Marginalia as literary work
  • Commentary as writing, writing as commentary
  • Marginalia as (auto)biographical record or life writing
  • Annotation in combination with inter-leaving and grangerising
It is anticipated that the papers from the conference will form the basis of an edited collection to be published by a quality academic press.

Length of papers: 
Papers will be twenty minutes each (with ten minutes for Q and A).

Please send abstracts of 250–300 words to the convenors by 15 June:
Dr. Patrick Spedding (Patrick.Spedding@monash.edu)
Dr. Paul Tankard (paul.tankard@otago.ac.nz)

To allow for delegates to make their travel plans and/or apply for funding in a timely fashion, proposals will be considered and confirmations issued as they come in.

Masterclass: Prof. Bill Sherman will conduct a masterclass at the State Library of Victoria, using items from the Rare Books Collection to demonstrate some of the interpretative challenges that annotated material presents to scholars and librarians. Seating is limited. For further details, or to book a seat, please contact Dr. Patrick Spedding (Monash University): Patrick.Spedding@monash.edu.

[UPDATE: 2021.03.20: for details of the book, which Paul Tankard, Mia Godwin and I later prepared based largely on papers delivered at this conference, see my My Publications etc.; UPDATE 2021.05.23: for a post on the published book, see here.]