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Cultures of Communication: An Interdisciplinary Colloquium on the Study of the Book

—Convened by Joshua Teplitsky (History), Erika Honisch (Music History and Theory), and Aurélie Vialette (Hispanic Languages and Literature)
—Hosted by the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University; funded by the FAHSS Interdisciplinary Initiatives Fund  

This colloquium brings together scholars from different departments in Stony Brook's College of Arts and Sciences whose work engages aspects of the study of the book. In recent years the study of the book has promoted collaboration between researchers from the fields of intellectual and cultural history, comparative literature, communication theory and network analysis, material studies, source studies and stemmatics, epistemology, and the sociology of knowledge. The book as medium and message—to gloss Marshall McLuhan's memorable formulation—invites a convergence of scholarship from the humanities, social sciences, and media and technology.

The study of the book facilitates this convergence by transcending traditional disciplinary and linguistic boundaries, and drawing together researchers whose objects of study range from papyrus to PDF, from medieval codex to graphic novel. The diverse historical, material, and cultural contexts explored by Stony Brook researchers invite us to ask not only "What is a book?" but also "What can a book be?" and "How does the use of books as objects and as media change in time and place?"

To address these questions and promote new connections among scholars at Stony Brook, Cultures in Communication will be hosting guests from the cutting edge of scholarship on the study of the book to deliver public lectures and seminars on works-in-progress. We invite all members of the SBU community—faculty, graduate students, and undergrads—to join us in this inquiry!


Fall 2015 calendar (all events in Humanities Building, Room 1008)

October 1

12:00–2:00, lunchtime roundtable
"How to Do the History of Books"
Elyse Graham (English), Sara Lipton (History), Peter Manning (English), and Shobana Shankar (History)

October 14

4:00–6:00, lecture
"The Universal Library from Gutenberg to Google"
Adrian Johns (Department of History, University of Chicago)

October 15

12:00–2:00, lunchtime seminar
"The Policing of Print in Early Modern London" 
Adrian Johns (Chicago)

November 4

12:00–2:00, lunchtime seminar
"Collecting Glosses: A Workshop with Glossed Iberian Manuscripts and Related Methodological Issues, from Book-hunting to In-depth Study"
Jesus R. Velasco (Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University)

4:00–6:00, lecture
"Synchronizing the Mediterranean: Pedro de Avis and His Experiments with Manuscripts"
Jesus R. Velasco (Columbia)

November 19

1:00–3:00, lunchtime seminar
"Musical Documents of Sixteenth-century Vernacular Languages"
Kate van Orden (Department of Music, Harvard University)

5:00–7:00, lecture
"Mapping Multicultural Geographies in Early Modern Europe: The French Chanson Abroad"
Kate van Orden (Harvard)

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