Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Edited Collection: Early Modern Ciphers

Katherine Ellison
Deadline: 500-1,000 word abstracts due by September 1, 2015.

Abstracts are solicited for an edited collection on medieval, early modern, and eighteenth-century cryptography, ciphering, deciphering, coding, or decoding. The goal of this volume is to bring together innovative and interdisciplinary research in the early history of cryptography as a linguistic, mathematical, scientific, and literary discipline that underwent significant change prior to the twentieth century and influenced cognitive and narrative practices across the arts the sciences. Essays might engage with actual solved or unsolved ciphers of this broad period and close analysis of typographies, inks, papers, printing and publishing, and circulation. Also encouraged are discussions of the cognitive and/or narrative processes required to engage with ciphered or coded documents, cryptography as a model for changing ideas about intelligence and disability, deciphering as a test, puzzle, or game, the influences of cryptography on the evolution of mathematics, practical or theoretical sciences, the occult, and universal language, feminist readings of cryptography/ciphering, or literary/artistic depictions of cryptography or ciphering more abstractly.  Consideration of popular culture interest in solved or unsolved historical ciphers is also welcome, as are essays that survey twentieth- and twenty-first assumptions about cryptography’s past. Special attention will be given to essays that engage with the material forms of cryptography and the ways in which the subject highlights the reading and production of texts. How is cryptography embodied? In what ways do the practices of ciphering and deciphering challenge our assumptions about materiality, the history of reading, or early multimodalities? Studies engaging with cryptography and colonialism, capitalism, surveillance, early computing, and global economies and cultures are also invited. 

Abstracts of 500-1000 words, with citations in Chicago style, should be sent via email to Prof. Katherine Ellison, Department of English, Illinois State University, at keellis@ilstu.edu by September 1, 2015. Please send original proposals not under consideration in other venues.

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