Workshop in the  History of  Material Texts
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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 31st year in 2023–24. 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.


Zachary Lesser, Edward W. Kane Professor of English
John Pollack, Curator, Research Services, Kislak Center
Jerome Singerman, Senior Humanities Editor emeritus, Penn Press
Lila Goldenberg, 2023–2024 Brizdle-Schoenberg Fellow in the History of Material Texts

Advisory Board: Shira Brisman (Assistant Professor, History of Art); Julie Nelson Davis (Professor, History of Art); Deven M. Patel (Associate Professor, South Asia Studies); Whitney Trettien (Assistant Professor, English)