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Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Print: Theories, Histories & Futures

25th Annual Comparative Literature Conference

February 23-25, 2023

University of South Carolina (Columbia)

Katie Chenoweth Julie Park Bonnie Mak
Katie Chenoweth
(Princeton University)
Julie Park
(Pennsylvania State University)
Bonnie Mak
(University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Download the conference program here

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24, 10:15-11:30
Katie Chenoweth, Princeton University

“Erasable Books (Montaigne, Shakespeare, Derrida)”

Zoom: email for link

Katie Chenoweth is Associate Professor of French at Princeton University. Her research is situated at the intersection of literature, philosophy, media studies, and the history of the book.  Her first book, The Prosthetic Tongue: Printing Technology and the Rise of the French Language (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), charts the technological reinvention of the French “mother tongue” that begins in printers’ workshop during the first half of the sixteenth century.  Her current book project, Strange Flowers: Radical Quotation from Montaigne to Derrida (under contract with Northwestern University Press), reassesses the importance of both citationality and Montaigne’s Essays for modern thought. Additionally, she is the director of Derrida’s Margins, an ongoing digital humanities project dedicated to Derrida’s personal library, housed in Princeton’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24, 2:15-3:30
Bonnie Mak, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

“Reading and Writing Material”

Hollings Library, Program Room

Bonnie Mak is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences. She holds cross- appointments in History and Medieval Studies. Her first book, How the Page Matters (University of Toronto Press, 2011), examines the page as a dynamic interface in scrolls, tablets, and codices, from the Middle Ages to today. She is at work on a second book-length project that explores the historical circumstances that shape the digital materials with which scholarship is increasingly conducted, and thereby examines the notions of data and information in the humanities. Her areas of specialization are manuscript studies and book history, the production and circulation of knowledge, and the history of information practices.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 25, 1:15-2:30    
Julie Park, Pennsylvania State University

“Folds of Intermediality: Print as Word and Image in the 18th-Century Extra-Illustrated Book”

Hollings Library, Program Room

Julie Park is Paterno Family Librarian for Literature (with tenure) and Affiliate Professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University. A scholar of eighteenth-century England who works at the crossroads of literary studies, material and visual culture, and textual materiality, she is the author of The Self and It (Stanford University Press, 2010) and My Dark Room (University of Chicago Press, 2023). Her current book project, Writing’s Maker, draws on recent work in archives and special collections to examine the materiality of self-inscription formats (commonplace books, pocket diaries, extra-illustrated books and penmanship copy books) as intermedial channels of thinking, creating and record making for writers of the long eighteenth century and today. In her prior role as Assistant Curator and Faculty Fellow in the Special Collections Center of New York University Libraries, she curated the exhibitions The Interactive Book and Portable Devices.

This conference takes an inclusive approach to literatures and other disciplines from any linguistic or national tradition in order to generate broad discussions about theories, histories, and futures of print. Digitization continues to increase access to historical materials and to inform our teaching and research of literary texts. Along the way, digital methods and interfaces call new attention to features of printed works that can either be lost in the process or invite reflection on long histories of media revolutions. Work that considers the nature of the printed text from any critical approach are welcome.

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following …

Intersections: book history & digital humanities, critical theory & book history, global book history & comparative literature

Word and Image: engraving, etching, and illustration

Written media: inscription, manuscript, type, code

Typography: typefaces, italics, non-Roman scripts

Paratexts: notes, epigraphs, marginalia, title pages

Hypertexts: printed and/or digital

Digital projects: the use, creation, or analysis of databases or archives

The Page: page layout, the printed or digital page as generators of meaning

Reading Scenes: literary depictions of books, printed material, or reading

The conference will be hybrid, with in-person sessions held in the Hollings Special Collections Library on the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Virtual participants are welcome.

Please send a 250-word proposal to by Nov 18. To propose a full panel of 3-4 speakers, please send a 250-word proposal for the panel and individual proposals for each paper.

COVID safety statement:
Given the ongoing limitations that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose for many, in-person aspects of this hybrid conference are being planned to maximize safety. All events will take place in one of the largest rooms on campus in the LEED-certified Hollings Library to allow for social distancing in a well-ventilated building. Covered outdoor space will be provided for communal (boxed) lunches—which will quite possibly be comfortable in February in South Carolina.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.