2024 Conference of the Bibliographical Society of Canada
17–18 June, McGill University
Topographical: The Place of Books
Working with books is in many senses an effort to relate them to places. Writers in all genres describe journeys, encounters, visits, or homecomings in persistent patterns of excursion and return. Readers follow them, searching for the cultural, scientific, informational, or touristic meaning of places – while also trying to find the right place for books in their own lives and dwellings. In its creation and its criticism, literature is classified in geopolitical terms – nation, region, community, locale – and contested by further terms that cut across them spatially – indigeneity, empire, diaspora, fugitivity.
The book trade also has its crucial places: printshop, publishing office, community, warehouse, bookstore, library, classroom, home. These are and have long been embattled places for the book, exposed to changes brought by politics, the economy, and technology. The book itself, through its capacity to bring news and ideas from afar, has participated in technological efforts to cancel space. Thus while books powerfully give voice to or guide people to a place, it must also be acknowledged that places elude the book.
For its 2024 conference, the Bibliographical Society of Canada invites papers on the conjunction of the topographical with the typographical. New research is solicited on any of the myriad ways of making books in or about specific locations, by or about the people who live there, and with reference to the things and the concepts that disclose or impose identity. How do books represent places – and what is the place of books?
Papers on other topics will also be considered.
Proposals may be in English or French. Proposals, which must be submitted via this online form, should include the following elements:
- Title of presentation
- Abstract indicating argument, context, and methods (max. 250 words)
- Bio (50–100 words) including full name, professional designation (e.g., graduate student, assistant professor, independent researcher, etc.), and institutional affiliation or place
Proposals from early career professionals and graduate students are especially welcome.
Presentations must be made in person: the conference will not be online or hybrid.
Deadline: 31 January 2024