Founded by Peter Stallybrass in 1993, the Workshop in the History of Material Texts has been influential in its broad approach to the topic. We are interested in all aspects of how texts take material form and circulate in the world, from printed books, manuscripts, scrolls, and tablets, to e-readers, websites, hard disks, and server farms; from illuminations, woodcuts, and engravings, to GIFs and TIFFs; from title pages, flyleaf advertisements, and dealer catalogues, to listservs and email signatures. Speakers also routinely discuss printing and publishing histories, authorship, reception, piracy, and other themes related to the communications circuits within which these texts circulate.
The Workshop will celebrate its 28th year in 2020-21. All are welcome to attend. Participants (including faculty, librarians, graduate and undergraduate students, booksellers and anyone else interested) come from a wide range of disciplines. The usual format of the workshop is a presentation of approximately thirty minutes, followed by discussion, based if possible on material from Penn's special collections, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, or other visual materials.
Associated with the workshop is the book series in Material Texts published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes many monographs that have emerged from presentations given at the workshop over the years.