CFP SHARP 2020: The Power of the Written Word (June 15-18, 2020, Amsterdam). Deadline now 31 Dec 2019

Call for Papers

The written word has immense power. Manuscripts, books, newspapers, pamphlets, internet and even graffiti can define and spread knowledge as well as form tools for emancipation and liberation. Yet it can also break down communities and fuel discontent. Some argue that new technologies and strategies have enhanced the power of the written word in a negative sense. Others answer that fake news, manipulation and ever-changing technologies have always played a role in history. Moreover, the power of the written word seems threatened by the preponderance of visual technologies in the spread of information. The conference theme explores how and to what extent the power of the written word has manifested itself in past, present and future. Scholars from a range of disciplines are invited to elaborate on the subject – from text creation, illumination and editing to dissemination and distribution of written and printed documents. Big data, digital humanities, codicology, history – whatever the method, we invite you to examine the theme from its beginnings in Sumeria and far into the future. What is the power of the written word? What has it achieved?

Suggested topics

→ The role of manuscripts, printed books, magazines, journals, newspapers, blogs, websites, or tweets in social movements (moral, intellectual, artistic, political, popular, religious)
→ The potentially emancipatory power of reading and writing, literacy
→ Books and manuscripts as material traces (i) of people and their interests (authors, publishers, readers), or (ii) of geopolitical policy (propaganda, diplomacy, granting programs, cultural industries)
→ Libraries, the role of the librarian today
→ Emerging and evolving figures in the book trade (e-publishers, e-pirates, agents, consultants, bloggers)
→ Disinformation, censorship and deceit through the ages
→ Clandestine presses
→ Art and oppression (e.g. Dada, the Russian structuralists)
→ Social media and visual communication in relation to the written word

Proposals on other aspects of print culture are also welcome. We also encourage proposals for lightning talks, posters, and digital project demonstrations. These must include a title, abstract (max. 250 words), and short biography (max. 100 words) for presenters. Proposals and papers will be written in English.

Deadline for proposals is 31 December 2019.

(re-posting from conference website)

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