SHARP in Focus

Each year SHARP normally holds an annual conference that brings many scholars together for stimulating discussion of an enormously wide range of issues. In lieu of a physical annual conference in 2020, SHARP in Focus was a week of virtual events open to members and non-members alike. Running from June 15 to June 19, SHARP in Focus welcomed anyone with an interest in Book History to participate in discussions about the field and the future of SHARP.

On this page, you can find the schedule of virtual events that took place, videos of a selection of recorded events, as well as relevant documents available for download. Please join SHARP to stay updated on future events, attend future conferences, and fund our activities and fellowships.



  • Decolonizing Book History Roundtable
    Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, SHARP’s Director of Awards, chairs a roundtable discussion on the concepts, challenges, and strategies of decolonising book history. Panelists Marina Garone Gravier (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Priya Joshi (Temple University), Jean Lee Cole (Loyola University Maryland), Kinohi Nishikawa (Princeton University), Derrick R. Spires (Cornell University), and Andrea Reyes Elizondo (Leiden University) explore issues of colonization/decolonization, indigenization, race politics, social justice and equity with regard to, for example, the types and modes of research undertaken in Book History, teaching practices, and the collection, archiving and curation of knowledge in databases and catalogues.
  • SHARP Coffeehouse: Reimagining SHARP News
    With SHARP News editor-in-chief Andie Silva, SHARP News head reviews editor Nora Slonimsky, and hosted by Director of Publications, Corinna Norrick-Rühl. Discusses the new look of SHARP News and think about what role the new version of SHARP News can play for SHARP members and the scholarly community.


  • SHARP Coffeehouse on the Future of Academic Conferences
    SHARP’s Director of Conferences Josée Vincent and Vice President Will Slauter host a brainstorming session on various aspects of the conference experience. Topics for discussion include: what is distinctive about SHARP conferences? How can we make our conferences more inclusive and more environmentally sustainable? What digital formats seem most promising?
  • Bring Your Own Book (BYOB) Launch Party
    Hosted by Director of Publications Corinna Norrick-Rühl. In succinct, 1-2 minute launch slots, authors showcase publications from our field of research that have been published since the last SHARP conference, i.e. between August 2019 and June 2020. All of the books will be listed on SHARP News on the “New publications by members” page.
    Please note that we will be happy to repeat this event if members wish.


  • Teaching Material Texts without the Material
    Sarah Werner, SHARP EC Member-at-Large, hosts a conversation about how to teach material book history when we can’t access those materials in person. A brief discussion with panelists Megan Peiser, Emily Spunaugle, and Matthew Kirschenbaum is followed by break-out conversations about teaching strategies for when classes meet online. Peiser (Asst Prof of English, Oakland University) and Spunaugle (Rare Books Librarian, Oakland U) were co-teaching a book history course that drew extensively on their rare books collection when in-person teaching was suspended; Kirschenbaum (Prof of English, U Maryland) was teaching a graduate course on “how to do things with books” in their BookLab, of which he is co-director. The speakers draw on their experiences in adjusting hands-on processes to online learning in order to help participants brainstorm their own potential pedagogical practices.


  • SHARP Coffeehouse on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    Marija Dalbello, Chair of SHARP’s Board of Directors, Jan Hillgaertner, Director of Transnational Affairs, and Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, Director of Awards, lead an informal discussion about how academic societies, and SHARP in particular, can better promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • SHARP Annual General Meeting and Awards
    Brief updates on the state of our organization and announcements of the 2020 George A. and Jean S. DeLong Book History Book Prize and the Book History graduate student essay prize.


  • SHARP Coffeehouse on Membership Benefits and Initiatives
    SHARP EC’s Membership Secretary Lisa Maruca and Member-at-Large (Pedagogy) Sarah Werner discuss how SHARP can best serve its members.
  • SharpFriday
    An informal happy hour on Zoom, hosted by Marie Léger-St-Jean and Alisa Beer.

SHARP in Focus Documents

  • Decolonizing Book History Roundtable Chat [PDF]
  • Decolonizing Book History Roundtable Chat Appendix [PDF]
  • Coffeehouse on the Future of Academic Conferences Chat [PDF]
  • Coffeehouse on the Future of Academic Conferences Chat Appendix [PDF]
  • Bring Your Own Book (BYOB) Launch Party Slides [PDF]
  • Teaching Material Texts without the Materials Chat [PDF]
  • Teaching Material Texts without the Materials Chat Appendix [PDF]
  • Google Doc for Teaching Material Texts without the Materials Link
  • Coffeehouse on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chat [PDF]
  • Coffeehouse on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chat Appendix [PDF]