NEH Summer Seminar in history of the book

 This announcement may be of interest to literature faculty:

John N. King and James K. Bracken of The Ohio State University will direct a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers on continuity and change in the production, dissemination, and reading of Western European books during the 200 years following the advent of printing with movable type. In particular, they plan to pose the governing question of whether the advent of printing was a necessary precondition for the Protestant Reformation. Participants will consider ways in which adherents of different religious faiths shared common ground in exploiting elements such as book layout, typography, illustration, and paratext (e.g., prefaces, glosses, and commentaries) in order to inspire reading, but also to restrict interpretation. Employing key methods of the History of the Book, our investigation will consider how the physical nature of books affected ways in which readers understood and assimilated their intellectual contents. This program is geared to meet the needs of teacher-scholars interested in  the literary, political, or cultural history of the Renaissance and/or Reformation, the History of the Book, art history, women’s studies, religious studies, bibliography, print culture, library science (including would-be rare book librarians), mass communication, literacy studies, and more.

This seminar will meet from 22 June until 24 July 2009. During the first week of this program, we shall visit 1) Antwerp, Belgium, in order to draw on resources including the Plantin-Moretus Museum (the world’s only surviving early modern printing and publishing house) and 2) London, England, in order to attend a rare-book workshop and consider treasures at the British Library. During four weeks at Oxford, where we shall reside at St. Edmund Hall, we plan to draw on the rare book and manuscript holdings of the Bodleian Library and other institutions.

Those eligible to apply include citizens of USA who are engaged in teaching at the college or university level and independent scholars who have received the terminal degree in their field (usually the Ph.D.). In addition, non-US citizens who have taught and lived in the USA for at least three years prior to March 2009 are eligible to apply. NEH will provide participants with a stipend of $3,800.

Full details and application information are available at http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/king2/Reformationofthebook/. For further information, please contact  rankinmc@jmu.edu. The application deadline is March 1, 2009.

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