SHARP 2018

SHARP 2018

Call for Papers: SHARP 2018: ‘From First to Last Texts, Creators, Readers, Agents’ the 26th annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)

Monday 9 July to Thursday 12 July, with an optional excursion (details TBC) on Friday 13 July, 2018. This international book history conference will be held in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time, at Western Sydney University, New South Wales, Australia.

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.

See the full Call for Papers at along with further details, submission instructions and multilingual versions.