We are pleased to invite a second round of paper proposals for ‘Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and the Present’, a 1-day academic conference to be held at Senate House, University of London, on 15 September 2016. The deadline for this round of abstracts is 6 May 2016.
The last ten years have seen a burgeoning interest in collecting evidence about reading in the past. The Reading Experience Database has amassed over 34,000 individual reading experiences relating to Britain between 1450 and 1945, and parallel projects are now investigating reading in other geographical and historical realms. The increasing number of monographs, articles, and essay collections devoted to investigating the field not only demonstrates that, as Robert Darnton puts it, “reading has a history” but also in many cases showcases innovative new ways of recovering its historical traces. But how do we connect scholarly practice with present-day reading communities outside of academia? How is the historical evidence of reading relevant to contemporary reading practices? How might the two fields of knowledge be brought into a productive dialogue with one another? Is reading a way of connecting people through and across history?
For this focussed call, we are particularly interested in papers that address:
- The past and present of reading groups and reading communities
- Reading practices in dissident or marginalised communities
- Reading practices in World War II
- The relationship between archive-based databases and contemporary oral history
- Propaganda, surveillance, and wartime reading culture
- Continuities and revolutions in reading habits, past and present
Papers that deal with the history of reading more broadly interpreted will also be considered.
Send 300-word abstracts to: [log in to unmask] by 6 May 2016.
This conference forms part of the activities associated with Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and the Present, an AHRC-funded project for impact and engagement based in the Department of English at The Open University.