Announcing “Chapter and Verse: Structures of Reading” — A Call for Papers

Chapter and Verse: Structures of Reading

University of California at Berkeley

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Keynote Speaker: Associate Professor Nicholas Dames, Departments of Comparative Literature and English, Columbia University

The Bancroft Library and the Departments of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley invites scholars of all disciplines to submit papers to the History of the Book and Reading Townsend Center Working Group conference. This conference will explore what comprises the field we call “History of the Book.”

How do reading and writing practices inflect or constitute meaning?

How do changes in book media—from wax tablets, to scrolls, to codices, to electronic texts and beyond—inform structures of reading and perhaps change what it means to read?

What do print and material cultures across periods and geographies reveal about texts?

How might intellectual property relate to its physical media, particularly in terms of piracy and copyright practices?

What are the effects of the spaces and conditions of reading—in, on, and around the page?

Nicholas Dames, our keynote speaker, is the Theodore Kahan Associate Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. A specialist in the nineteenth-century British and European novel, his most recent work includes The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science and the Form of Victorian Fiction (Oxford, 2007) as well as Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting and British Fiction 1810-1870 (Oxford, 2001), which was awarded the Sonya Rudikoff Prize by the Northeast Victorian Studies Association. He is currently at work on a history of the chapter, from ancient prose fiction to the modern novel.

Submit abstracts of 250 words by June 6, 2011 to Lynn Huang, University of California at Berkeley, thehistoryofthebook at Please include with your abstract full contact information (name, affiliation, address, email) and make your name and paper title the subject of the email.