e-Reading – Wherefore, Why, and How: A TRB Symposium

Whether you feel naked without your mobile device, or you’re a bookworm who’s only hungry for paper, or if you couldn’t be more bored of all the standard fuss about e-reading, The Toronto Review of Books has a provocation in mind for you:  I’m very pleased to announce that we’re collaborating with the University of Toronto’s graduate program in Book History and Print Culture to host a symposium on e-Reading on March 31, 2012, at Massey College.

E-Reading: an Interdisciplinary Symposium
31 March 2012, Massey College, University of Toronto

A collaboration between the University of Toronto graduate program in Book History and Print Culture, and a new, online publication, The Toronto Review of Books, this symposium invites papers that consider e-reading, both as an activity and as an idea. E-reading tends to elicit either dismay or enthusiasm from its critics, but this symposium aims for clear-eyed assessments that address both the potential gains and losses of a practice that is rapidly growing in popularity around the world.

With an interdisciplinary and cross-period scope, this symposium will consider what the new methods share with older reading habits. People working on periods both before and after the rise of virtual media are therefore equally encouraged to submit proposals that address what might be called the “long history” of e-reading. Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

– Economies of e-reading: the corporate ownership of e-texts, copyright and the cost of e-books
– E-books, e-readers, and fashion
– Marginalia, reading out loud, and blog comments: the long history of private reading in public
– Digital literacies in developing countries
– Online literacies: attention span, short form, bots, email, texting, the history of correspondence
– From Socrates to WikiLeaks: memorization, data, and electronic memory
– Facebook and reading
– Scanning: fast reading and slow reading
– e-Readers: the materiality of e-reading
– Digital reading in the humanities: materials, methods, and critics
– The profits of e-reading, financial and intellectual
– Pedagogy and e-reading: the fate of bibliographic skills
– Screens and reading
– eDesign
– The long history of mobile reading and travel
– Precursors to virtual reading: visions and reading
– Animation, interaction, and reading: illustrated e-books
– Internet/book/e-book: the fate of bookwork in e-landscapes
– Time and e-reading

Papers should be delivered in English and should not exceed 20 minutes in length. Please send proposals of approximately 250 words, along with institutional and departmental affiliation, to bhpc2011@gmail.com. The deadline for submissions is 10 January, 2012.