Workshop in the  History of  Material Texts
HMT About Search Events Impact


To receive announcements about each week's lecture, please sign up for our listserv using the link on our About page. To view recordings of previous workshops, visit our YouTube channel. If you're interested in learning more about workshop sessions in previous years, we have a searchable database of seminars that goes back to 1996.

Unless otherwise noted all meetings are held at 5:15pm in the Class of 1978 Pavilion, in the Kislak Center for Special Collections on the 6th floor of the University of Pennsylvania's Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center.


  • Jan. 23: Paul Farber (Penn & Monument Lab): “After Permanence: A Future History of Monuments”

  • Jan. 30: Alexander Bevilacqua (Williams College): “Human Difference at the Renaissance Tournament: Global Ambitions and the Visual Record”

  • Feb. 6: Zachary Lesser (Penn) and Whitney Trettien (Penn): “ 'Preserved as a Relic': What Happened to Edwin Forrest’s Burned First Folio?”

  • Feb. 13: Vance Byrd (Penn): “Adalbert Stifter and Illustrated Pantheon Editions”

  • Feb. 20: David Bell (Princeton): “Talking Back to the Philosophes: The Case of Claude-Rigobert Lefebvre de Beauvray”

  • Feb. 27: Talya Fishman (Penn): “Material Devotion and Matter in the Culture of Medieval Catalan Jews”

  • Mar. 6: No meeting

  • Mar. 13: Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano (Penn): “Metaphors, Conjectures, and Opinions: Talking About Books in Early Modern Ottoman Texts”

  • Mar. 20: Dianne Mitchell (University of Colorado Boulder): “Folding the Lyric”

  • Mar. 27: Tiffany Stern (Birmingham): “Clown Images in and beyond the Early Modern Playhouse”

  • [CANCELLED]Apr. 3: Christy Pottroff (Boston College): “Postal Hackers: Reading the Earliest Letterbooks of the U.S. Postmaster General (1789–1805) for the Extraordinary”

  • Apr. 10, 11, 13: Leah Price (Rutgers), Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography: “Reading from Home”

  • Apr. 17: Jessica Linker (Northeastern): “Reimagining Women's Roles in 19th-Century American Scientific Illustration”

  • Apr. 24: Roger Chartier (Penn): “Who Died on April 23? Three Textual Connected Histories between Peru, Spain and London”


  • Sep. 12: Sean Quimby (Penn): “Making the First Black Comic Book

  • Sep. 19: Joseph Rezek (Boston University): “Ideologies of the Codex in Richard Hakluyt and John Smith

  • Sep. 26: Ulrich von Bülow (Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach): “W. G. Sebald's Papers and Photographs”

  • Oct. 3: Peter Barberie (Philadelphia Museum of Art): “Richard Benson and the End of Printed Pictures

  • Oct. 10: Alexis Hagadorn (Columbia University Libraries): “Reading Medieval Parchment through an Eighteenth-Century Lens

  • Oct. 17: Tara Bynum (University of Iowa): “Phillis Wheatley Passes An Evening with Someone Else’s Husband”

  • Oct. 24: Elly Truitt (Penn): “Why Are Clocks?”

  • Oct. 31: Jamal Elias (Penn): “Writing Commentaries on Spectral Texts: The Mystery of Ismail Ankaravi’s Commentary on the 7th Volume of Rumi’s Masnavi

  • Nov. 7: Peter Stallybrass (Penn): “The Erasable Ten Commandments: The Decalogue as Wax Tablets

  • Nov. 14: Marcy Norton (Penn): “Indigenous Expertise and Epistemology in 'Historiae animalium et mineralium Novae Hispaniae' (1560–1577)” [Co-sponsored by the Penn Department of History]

  • Nov. 21: Margaret McAleer (Library of Congress): “Paper + Digital: No Longer Format Agnostic”

  • Nov. 28: Julie Davis (Penn): “Partnership in the Studio: Reconsidering Ōi and Hokusai”

  • Dec. 5: Chi-ming Yang (Penn): “Finding Octavia E. Butler in the Archives and around Black Pasadena”