Symposium on the Book – “Ecologies of the Book”

The Symposium on the Book at the University of Georgia is an interdisciplinary Willson Center Research Seminar that aims to explore the nature of the book in all its forms, across time and space. The goals are twofold, to pose fundamental questions such as: what makes a book a book, how have cultural attitudes toward books and book making changed, are digital media recuperating or killing print media? And to investigate and analyze the various media that contribute to the production of books such as ink, e-ink, paper, screen, manuscript, print, pixels, binding, and book arts, as well as the production processes themselves.The symposium has partnered with The Big Read: A Focus on Robinson Jeffers for Ecologies of the Book, a discussion of poetry, books, and the natural world, with a reading by Camille Dungy and a plenary talk by Joshua Calhoun of the University of Wisconsin.Camille Dungy will give her reading at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 7 at First A.M.E. Church, 521 N Hull St. in Athens. She is the author of three books of poetry and the edited collection Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. Her poems are included among Nikki Giovanni’s 100 best poems by African Americans. She hascontributed to the diversity in conversations about ecology and conservation and done tremendous research into slaves’ experiences with the environment–by necessity, discovering what resources and refuge nature could provide during violence and abuse.Joshua Calhoun will present his plenary address, “Papermaking in Utopia: Ecology, Poetry, and Place,” at 9 a.m.Friday, April 8 in the Russell Special Collections Building.Calhoun isan assistant professor of English at UW-Madison, and an expert on the natural history of texts and papermaking, as well as Renaissance lyric poetry and drama. In his presentation, Calhoun notes that we rarely acknowledge that the natural resources needed to make books are provisional, seasonal, and geographically specific. To accept them as givens is to miss outon a vibrant history of the ecological negotiations and technological contrivances used to store and transmit human ideas. These negotiations — what environmental writer Aldo Leopold might call “biotic interactions” — areespecially apparent in an archive like UGA’s Special Collections Libraries, where we are surrounded by animals, vegetables, and minerals in the forms of old books. In this talk, he will explore how we might expand ourfield of vision to include the world of things in the stories we tell about media.The symposium will conclude with an 11 a.m. panel in the Russell Building featuring short papers by UGA professors Sujata Iyengar (“Ecologies of Shakespearean Artist’s Books”), Ron Balthazor (“From Compost to Compose: Back to the Garden”), and Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor (“Robinson Jeffers, The Big Read, and Me”). Discussion will follow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 3:00am to 12:00am

Various locations

Office of Research, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
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