• Toward Critical Book History

    Kate Ozment (see profile)
    Book history, Information science, Critical theory
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    SHARP 2019
    Conf. Org.:
    Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing
    Conf. Loc.:
    Amherst, Massachusetts
    Conf. Date:
    July 15-18, 2019
    Permanent URL:
    This paper considers the prospect of a “critical book history” that blends critical theory with studies of the book as a material and cultural object. This concept parallels similar efforts in the digital humanities for a critically engaged digital practice, as explored in a 2018 American Quarterly special issue, the #transformdh movement, and Debates in the Digital Humanities. Critical digital humanities argues “that theory can be engaged through practice, that scholarship should be open and accessible to all, and that collaboration is pivotal” (American Quarterly 70.3). This presentation suggests that similar pushes in book history would create a productive dialogue between book history work, the digital humanities, critical theory, and public humanities. I explore: what would be the goal of a critical book history? What changes would be required in how we think about and practice our discipline? And most excitingly, what new inspiration does this provide for studies of materiality and cultural history; political praxis; theoretically informed work on race, ethnicity, gender, and class; technological methodologies that engage with the past and explore the future; and a reflexivity on the limitations of our historical narratives and practices.
    This was a short presentation as part of a roundtable on "Book History on the Margins"
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
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