Thursday March 21 to Friday March 22, 2013

McGill University, Arts Building, Room 160

How did people in Europe between 1700 and 1900 use printed matter to mediate and structure their social and interpersonal interactions?  On one hand, silently reading a printed book is usually understood as a solitary activity, even an alienating one.  On the other, engaging with printed matter in particular ways helps to shape large-scale groups such as religious denominations and nation-states.  Between these two extremes, however, lies a world of interpersonal print that is more seldom discussed. This two-day conference brings together specialists in a number of disciplines from across North America and Great Britain to address the interpersonal dimensions of print culture from several angles.

Print entered interpersonal relationships in numerous ways: parents or care-givers reading to children, courting couples reading together, correspondents recommending and discussing printed books in their letters, reading societies pooling their resources to buy books and salons using a printed text to structure conversations are all examples. Print’s interpersonal dimensions will be addressed by our eight invited speakers: Angela Borchert (Western), Michael Gamer (University of Pennsylvania), Denise Gigante (Stanford University), Matthew Grenby (Newcastle University), Leslie Howsam (Windsor), Jon Klancher (Carnegie Mellon), Jon Mee (Warwick University), and Catherine Sama (University of Rhode Island).

An exhibition being curated in association with the conference will showcase examples of how people interacted with print in the period to cultivate new interpersonal interactions.  “Interpersonal Print” will interest anyone concerned with how print mediates between individuals, shaping even some of our closest interpersonal relationships.

This is the third in a series of three two-day conferences on interactive aspects of print culture in this period. We welcome you to join us for the event in its entirety or for any part of it.