Book History Research Network Study Day: Textual Authority – deadline 17 November 2017

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Date / time: 18 December, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Queen Mary, University of London

Book History Research Network Study Day: Textual Authority - deadline 17 November 2017

Queen Mary, University of London 18 December 2017

This study day seeks to explore how the notion of authority developed in print media between 1450 – 2017. Our modern world is more connected than ever before, with information and knowledge spreading in new and innovative ways, no longer reliant on print media, which has dominated since the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century.We no longer gather our knowledge of the world solely from books, or even a daily or weekly newspaper. We can read the news online, take university courses remotely through the web, listen to podcasts to learn about new scientific developments, or watch an online tutorial to discover how to change a tyre.

However, there is still a sense that for a writer to be the authority on a subject, then their work must appear in print, however else people may also access it.This study day will explore how texts and books have come to be considered reliable sources of verifiable information, whether they genuinely were or not.

Papers are welcome which engage in any aspect of textual authority, or lack thereof, from the period 1450 to the present. Some areas to be explored include:

  • How authors gained a reputation for truth or accuracy
  • Editing practices and how these have impacted discussions of authorship and authority
  • State-sponsored publications and the way these have been perceived by the state and the public
  • How scientific knowledge was gathered and disseminated, and the different ways this was received by the wider readership
  • How new ideas are shared, developed and engaged with in print
  • Challenges to spurious factual texts through censorship, legal challenges and responses in print
  • How the journalism and news media has engaged with ideas surrounding textual authority
  • How new technologies both challenge and verify assumptions of authorship and/or textual authority

Papers from postgraduate students and early career scholars are particularly welcome. Please send 250 word abstracts to Yann Ryan or Rebecca Emmett by 17 November 2017.