Fall 2016

Inevitabilities of the Book
Friday-Saturday, September 9-10, 2016

Space is limited; please contact Andrew Brown ( to register.  A detailed program is available here.



Keynote Lecture
Inheritance, innovation, or inevitability?
The ancient table of contents at the dawn of print
Joseph Howley, Department of Classics, Columbia University
Friday, September 9, 2016, 5pm
Beinecke Library mezzanine

Symposium Panels
Saturday, September 10, 2016, 10 am – 5 pm
Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St

Participants include: Rebekah Ahrendt (Department of Music, Yale University), Andrew Brown (Department of English, Yale University), Marijeta Bozovic (Slavic Languages & Literatures,  Yale University), Carol Chiodo (Digital Humanities Lab, Yale University), Gill Partington (Department of English and Humanities, Birbeck, University of London), David Scott Kastan (Department of English, Yale University), Meredith Neuman (Department of English, Clark University), Elika Ortega (Department of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies, Northeastern University), Jessica Brantley (Department of English, Yale University), Jacqueline Wernimont (Department of English, Arizona State University)


Past Events

Fall 2015

The Futures of Historicism – A symposium in honor of David Scott Kastan
A Symposium of the Yale Program in the History of the Book
Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3, 2015

The symposium program can be found here.


Fall 2014

Time and the Book
A Symposium of the Yale Program in the History of the Book
Friday and Saturday, September 12 and 13, 2014

On the nightstand, on its deathbed; in AustenLand and on Notre Dame; serially and on cereal boxes: the book is always situated materially within its and others’ times. This year’s symposium examines the intersections of time and the book, exploring the relationships of time and materiality in the life of books as objects. Some themes include: the co-existence of timeframes and time-scales within the lives and critical lives of the book as object; the circadian and palimpsestic lives of books; their imagined pasts and futures; the differential aging of materials and material structures within them, and of social structures without; and the changing identities or values of books, or structures or perceptions of books, over time.

The symposium will begin on Friday at 2:30 with a Biblio-Laboratory, held at the Beinecke Library in rooms 38-39. It will be followed at 4:30 by a keynote lecture and reception on the Beinecke Library mezzanine.

Friday:  All events are free and open to the public.
Saturday: Registration is now closed. If you have questions, please contact Aaron Pratt (



Structures of Meaning in The History of the Book
A Symposium of the Yale Program in the History of the Book
Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21, 2013

This symposium will examine how meaning has been and continues to be organized around the material structures of the book — those conceived in manuscript, print, and new media.

It will begin on Friday afternoon at the Beinecke with a “Biblio-Laboratory,” which will highlight particular questions or points of instability in the relationship between structure and meaning in book history. Drawing objects – with their elusive, resistant qualities – into the discussion of objects, the laboratory frames discussion around the relationships that articulate the textual artifact as focus of research. After this, David Scott Kastan will deliver the symposium’s keynote, which will be followed by a reception. We will then gather at the Yale Department of English on Saturday for three seminar sessions, each centering on short, pre-circulated papers from panelists that respond to a set of organizing questions. Seminar chairs will provide introductory comments, launching discussions that aim to get at what are arguably the central questions asked by what has become known as the History of the Book: how do the forms in which texts are physically constituted and circulated affect their meaning, and how might these forms affect the very texts that are written and transmitted in the first place?


Friday, September 20
At the Beinecke Library

2:00-3:30pm – Biblio-Laboratory, rooms 38-39

Some lab stations include:

Chemical structures – Ink, Corrosion, and Text Loss
Marie-France Lemay (Yale)

Technological obsolescence – Data Recovery and Authorial Intent
Gabriela Redwine (Yale)

Survival – Text Fragments and Binding Structures
Ray Clemens (Yale)

Color – Joseph Albers’ Interaction of Color Re-Visited
Jae Rossman (Yale)

Binding Structures – Format, Literary Genre, and Disciplinary Reading
Aaron T. Pratt (Yale)

The Aura – Originality, Authenticity, and the Object as Fetish
Kathryn James (Yale)

4:30-6:00pm – Welcome and Keynote by David Scott Kastan (Yale)

6:00-7:00pm – Opening Reception

Saturday, September 21
At the Department of English, Linsly-Chittenden 319

9:00-10:00am – Morning Coffee

10:00-11:30am – Seminar 1, Pages and Screens
Panelists: Lisa Gitelman (NYU) and Bruce Gordon (Yale)
Respondent and Moderator: Jessica Brantley (Yale)

11:30-1:30pm – Break for Lunch

1:30-3:00pm – Seminar 2, Volumes and Packages
Panelists: Gabriela Redwine (Yale) and John Williams (Yale)
Respondent and Moderator: Aaron T. Pratt (Yale)

3:00-3:30pm – Afternoon Coffee

3:30-5:00pm – Seminar 3, Collections and Repositories
Panelists: Arthur Bahr (MIT) and Jeffrey Todd Knight (Washington)
Respondent and Moderator: Carol Chiodo (Yale)

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