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Keynote Announcement: Anindita Ghosh (Manchester), Yair Wallach (SOAS) | Beyond the Printing Press: Alternative Means of Production in the Global History of Print (26 June 2019, London)

Beyond the Printing Press: Alternative Means of Production in the Global History of Print
An international conference at the Royal Asiatic Society, London | 26 June 2019

Keynote speakers:
Prof. Anindita Ghosh, University of Manchester
Dr Yair Wallach, SOAS University of London

Anindita Ghosh is Professor of Modern Indian History at the University of Manchester, UK. She obtained her doctoral degree from Cambridge, and joined the History Department at the University of Manchester in 2001 as a lecturer, having served as a Simon Fellow between 1999 and 2000. Her work broadly addresses questions of power, culture, and resistance. Her publications have focussed on the social and cultural history of the book, the making of indigenous identity in colonial Bengal, women’s experience in colonial South Asia, as well as material cultures and social structures in the context of colonialism, technology, changing patterns of occupation, public spaces, and protest.

Yair Wallach is Pears Lecturer in Israeli Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His research has explored the intersection between ideas and material culture in the everyday experience of modernity. His doctoral thesis looked at Arabic and Hebrew texts in the urban space of modern Jerusalem (1858–1948). Dr Wallach has also written extensively on social, political, and environmental issues in the contemporary Middle East.


About the Conference
Typewriters, duplicators, copiers, and a myriad other means of production and reproduction of textual/visual matter have been a vital part of print cultures across the world. The ‘agents of change’ in the global history of printing and publishing, across the twentieth century in particular, have been other processes, other mechanisms, other devices than the printing press. This conference focuses on the role of such alternative or additional means of knowledge production and dissemination – tools like stencils, mimeographs, duplicators, photocopiers, the processes of strike-on and rub-down lettering, cyclostyle, xerography, to name just a few – alongside parallels, intersections, and continuations like handwriting, orality, and other ways of circulating information. Despite their marginal location in print history such means and processes of production have had significant influence in wide-ranging contexts of political activism, countercultures, resistance and student movements, and indeed in confronting and challenging censorship. But they have also been indispensable in mundane office use, public spaces and discourses, and in the day-to-day personal consumption of, and access to, information.

We invite papers that examine the global history of small-scale technologies as well as the situational or selective deployment of alternative modes of production across the world, beyond or alongside the printing press. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, practical and theoretical aspects, business histories, design and manufacture, the publications and publics of such endeavours, as well as practice-based enquiries and archival questions related to the longevity or ephemerality of their productions. The conference is particularly interested in investigations of Asian and African contexts where such alternatives may have had other functions or entirely different implications. Papers addressing oral histories, narratives of personal engagement, case studies of contextual adaptation and use are welcome, as are those that explore connections between geographical, socioeconomic, and linguistic contexts of printing through other means.


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