Books Beyond Boundaries


Books beyond Boundaries

A symposium in the Old Combination Room, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Thursday 24 November 2011.

Organisers: David McKitterick, James Raven and Alex Walsham.

Supported by the Trevelyan Fund, Faculty of History and the Cambridge Project for the Book Trust.

The purpose of this symposium is to bring together various scholars from Cambridge, the UK, the US and Europe to reflect on recent developments in and approaches to the History of the Book and to discuss both the potential and the problems posed by the ever-growing number of electronic resources available to scholars working in this broad and flourishing field. The last 15-20 years have seen the commissioning and publication of a series of histories of the book (Britain, Ireland, America, etc): these enterprises have borne considerable fruit and extended our knowledge of the worlds of manuscript production, printing, publishing and textual consumption within particular national contexts. But their self-imposed parameters have also restricted our understanding of initiatives and interactions that cut across these boundaries and connected people who were members of other types of imagined communities, including churches and sects and the wider republic of letters that united scholars across borders, continents and oceans. They have eclipsed other dimensions of the topic that demand attention in the context of burgeoning interest in transnational and global history. Building on these reflections, the second aim of this symposium is to consider how major digitisation projects and other databases are transforming how historians study past cultures of communication, as well as other related themes.


10am – Coffee

10.30-12.45 – Session I: Histories of the Book

America: Prof. David Hall (Harvard Divinity School)
Britain: Prof. David McKitterick (Trinity)
Ireland: Dr Toby Barnard (Hertford College, Oxford)
France: Prof. Dominique Varry (Lyon)

12.45-1.45 – Lunch

1.45-4.00 – Session II: New Resources

Universal STC: Prof. Andrew Pettegree (St Andrews)
The Electronic Enlightenment: Dr Glenn Roe (Oxford)
Bibliopolis: Prof. Paul Hoftijzer (Leiden)
Old Bailey Online and other resources: Prof. Tim Hitchcock (Hertfordshire)
Digitised newspapers: Dr Mark Curran (Leeds and Munby Fellow 2011-12)

4.00-4.30 – Tea

4.30-5.30 – Round Table Discussion and Future Directions

All are welcome to attend. It would be helpful if those intending to do so contacted Alex Walsham ( to let her know.

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