Call for Papers

As SHARP moves into its next 25 years, participants are encouraged to think creatively about how the book has been an agent that both anchors cultural continuities and provokes changes in mentalities throughout human history; the connectivity between oral / aural traditions and written cultures etc.; challenging assumptions about centre / periphery and Anglo / Euro-centrisms in Book History; and states of the discipline which address book historiographical concerns and trends, but also stimulate Book History to become truly adventurous and methodologically innovative.

In the fictional work The Last Witchfinder (James Morrow, 2006), the book’s narrator—also a book, in this case Newton’s Principia Mathematica—claimed that “unlike you humans, a book always remembers its moment of conception”. Equally we might argue that a text rarely ever dies and may go through many rebirths and incarnations. The conference theme of origins, endings and renewal may be approached from several angles. Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • What is the beginning and the end of the book?;
  • Exploding book histories, geographies and chronologies;
  • Alternative models: knowledge communities and practice in Indigenous cultures;
  • Transitions, overlaps and reinventions in orality, manuscript, print and the digital;
  • Transhistorical, transgender and transcultural comparisons in book history;
  • Books and the non-human / post-human world;
  • The textual human and the human text;
  • Literary agents and non-literary forms of agency that shift book history conventions;
  • The many lives of books: destroying, defacing, unmaking, repairing & restoring texts;
  • Non-literary forces, power structures, language politics and the book;
  • Authorship, originality and creative processes;
  • Materialising text and making containers;
  • Primary motives and end rewards in publishing and related industries;
  • and Temporalities, durations and revolutions in reading.

SHARP 2018 acknowledges that this conference takes place on ‘unceded’ Aboriginal territory and thus recognises the rich and deep history of Aboriginal publishing and mark making as well as Indigenous forms of communication – from oral storytelling to wampum to message sticks to modern publishing technology. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures arguably have the longest continuous tradition of reproducing stories and other communications in both written and visual forms. We invite presenters to think about the conference theme from the perspective of your own First Peoples communities, knowledge systems, and cultural positioning.

Papers that do not directly address the conference’s main themes are welcome too! SHARP 2018 is intended to be an interdisciplinary multilingual destination for scholars, students, industry, practitioners, and all lovers of things bookish, embracing domains such as digital humanities and digital history as well as building connections with publishing studies, information history, reading studies, cultural studies, art and design history — indeed those who are doing book history without knowing it!

Author Guidelines

Controlled Submission Vocabularies

For the conference proposal keywords 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: Egypt; Ethiopia; Kenya; Mozambique; Nigeria; North Africa; South Africa; Sudan; West Africa
  • Asia: China; East Asia; states; India/Subcontinent; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Japan; Korea; Middle East; Russia (Eurasia); Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Asia; Syria; Taiwan
  • Europe: Baltic Region; Belgium; Central Europe; Denmark; Eastern Europe; England; Finland; France; Germany; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; Norway; Northern Ireland; Portugal; Russia (Eurasian); Scandinavia; Scotland; Spain; Sweden; Wales; Other European countries
  • North America: Canada; Mexico; United States
  • Oceania: Australia; Fiji; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea
  • South America: Argentina; Brazil; Colombia; Latin America; Peru; Other South American countries
  • Global and Other Geographic Interests: British Empire; Roman Empire; Reading in Antarctic

Historical Period

  • Pre-Codex; Incunabula; Medieval; 16th Century; 17th Century; 18th Century; 19th Century; 20th Century; 21st Century


  • 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; Globalisation; GIS; Graphic Novels; Illustration; Image and Text; Internationalisation; Libraries; Literary Agency/Agents; Literacy; Manuscript; Maps and Cartography; Marginalia; Materiality of Texts; Media Ecology; Music; Newspapers; Orality; 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.

Submissions for this conference were closed on 2018-02-05.