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CFP: Seminar on Archives of Print Culture in Southern Africa (Pretoria, 19-20 MAY 2022)

We are looking for abstracts and expressions of interest for a two-day seminar on Archives of Print Culture in Southern Africa, to be held on 19-20 May 2022.

This two-day seminar explores the processes and dynamics that have shaped the constitution of archives of Southern African print culture. Focusing on records of authorship, publishing, and readership it considers whose histories have been recorded and whose have been erased; and examines the power relations, politics and economics underpinning the inclusion, preservation, and exclusion of materials in archives. The symposium also discusses issues of access to archives based in Southern Africa as well as those located in Europe and the US, and how the digitisation of archives is opening up these archives to a broader audience, facilitating new ways of structuring, arranging, and engaging with the historical records.

Themes of the conference include, but are not limited to, the following:
• The constitution and preservation of publishers’ and authors’ archives in Southern Africa
• The archive and the historicising of Southern African print culture
• Digital archives and preservation in Southern Africa
• African print culture, the archive and the ‘colonial library’
• Uncovering hidden and marginalised archives of African print culture
• New archive-based research related to the study of print culture, publishing or reading in Southern Africa
• Ways of reading the colonial archive in African print culture studies
• Accessing archives relating to Southern African print culture
• New archives and repositories relating to African print culture and publishing

We aim to host the conference in person in Pretoria and Johannesburg and to offer live-streamed sessions of parts of the program. However, if COVID-19 regulations change and require us to organize an online program only, we will do so, following the guidelines of the South African government.

The conference is hosted in collaboration with the University of Pretoria, the University of the Witwatersrand and University College London. It is open to researchers, students, and practitioners with interests in literary and cultural history, publishing studies, the history of the book, digital humanities, and information studies, together with archivists, librarians, and publishers.

We invite proposals for individual papers related to the conference themes. Please email the organisers to register your interest in presenting a paper at the conference, or to let us know if you would like to attend in person panels and sessions hosted in Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa. The conference has been generously funded by the British Academy and is also free to attend online.

Prof. Elizabeth le Roux, Associate Professor, Head of Publishing Studies, Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria,
Laetitia Cassells, Head of Publishing Studies, School of Literature, Language and Media, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Dr. Caroline Davis, Assistant Professor in Publishing, Department of Information Studies, University College London (
Relevant research areas: Africa

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