Saturday, November 22, 2008

NEH Seminar on History of the Book

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 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 For further
information, please contact The application deadline is
March 2, 2009.

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