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Calls for Papers & Proposals

In accordance with our identity as an international, interdisciplinary scholarly organization that fosters the study of books and other textual artifacts in traditional and emerging formats, the Bibliographical Society of America pursues its mission by hosting public programs and collaborating with related organizations to do so.

The Event Committee issues tri-annual calls in January, April, and October that are similar to open calls for conference proposals; from time to time, the Committee may call for proposals around a specific theme. We request a general overview of the content of sessions and presenters as well as information about the budget, promotion, and general organization of the event. This allows us to compensate presenters and organizers with honoraria for their intellectual and organizational labor and to cover other necessary costs.

In all BSA events, the material text – that is, handwritten, printed, or other textual artifacts, broadly conceived – as historical evidence, and/or the theory and practice of descriptive, historical, and/or critical bibliography, should be a central concern to participants and organizers.

Our events strive to center diverse perspectives covering wide-ranging topics as outlined in our Equity Action Plan.
Through our distributed conference model, BSA reduces its carbon footprint and meets you where you are by lowering barriers to participation. We have hosted bibliographical events both online and in-person at various locations throughout North America and, when possible, elsewhere in the world. Such events can include but are not limited to:

  • lectures,
  • panel presentations,
  • hands-on workshops,
  • conference sessions,
  • and receptions following events that are bibliographical in nature.

We strive to make our events free for attendees and open to all.

For more information about the types of events that BSA hosts and sponsors, please see the Past and Upcoming Events pages on our website. The Events Committee is especially eager to sponsor events that help the Society to achieve the objectives set out in its Equity Action Plan, which states:

The Society will continue to expand BSA events in terms of representation, coverage, and access. In-person and virtual events should cover a wide range of subjects, feature presenters from under-represented groups, and take place in geographically dispersed, physically accessible locations or with virtual equivalents (closed-captioning, etc.). Priority will be given to proposals that demonstrate a commitment to these values.

Review guidelines, deadlines, and submit a proposal here.

External Calls for Papers and Proposals

Through the BSA Liaison Sub-Committee, the Society has established relationships with various other learned societies and sponsors programs at their conferences. These conference calls for papers and others for sessions coincidentally organized by BSA members are posted here.

College Art Association Conference, 2022
Deadline September 16, 2021

The BSA will be sponsoring a session at the next annual conference of the College Art Association (Chicago, 16–19 February 2022), organized by Jeanne-Marie Musto, the BSA Liaison to CAA.

The Material Text in East Asia: Local Traditions and Intercultural Dialogue
The goal of this session is to explore books and other textual artifacts that have originated or been adapted for use in one or more East Asian cultures. A particular focus will be the interplay between intellectual history and aesthetic appreciation. Examples include the later interpretation of inscribed ritual objects, and collecting practices devoted to the study and display of inscriptions. A variety of media will be considered, including cast bronze and engraved stone as well as print or manuscript on paper. While attending to the specificity of local traditions, the session will consider the significance of these textual artifacts in intercultural and historiographical perspective. Proposals for papers that examine relationships between East Asian cultures or between East Asian and other cultures will be welcomed. The geographical definition of “East Asia” is open; textual artifacts from any period may be considered.

How to Submit

Please send proposals (250-word maximum), a title for your presentation, and your CV to Jeanne-Marie Musto, BSA liaison to the College Art Association by email by September 16.

NB: Presenters must be members of the CAA and—assuming the conference is held in-person—ready and able to attend the conference in Chicago and present their papers in person.

American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (ASECS) Conference, 2022
Deadline September 17, 2021

Panel descriptions for all ASECS 2022 sessions are available here.

Tangible Bibliography in Intangible Times
BSA-Sponsored Panel, organized by BSA-ASECS Liaison Ben Pauley
The Bibliographical Society of America defines bibliography as “a branch of historical scholarship that examines any aspect of the production, dissemination, and reception of handwritten and printed books as physical objects.” For much of 2020 and 2021, however, scholars’ and students’ access to physical books was severely curtailed as libraries and archives were forced to close to visitors. As libraries and archives gradually reopen to researchers, it seems fitting to reflect on the lessons of a period when the materials we study were physically inaccessible.

  1. How have book historians, print culture scholars, and bibliographers adapted their research and pedagogical methods when their access to physical artifacts was limited?
  2. What purposes do digital surrogates fulfill or not fulfill? Has increased reliance on these surrogates exposed any gaps in digital collections coverage, or highlighted previously overlooked institutional digitization priorities?
  3. What aspects of the physical text become more evident in its absence?
  4. What kinds of things will we now rush gratefully back to doing as before?
  5. What opportunities do we now see for approaching bibliographical research and teaching differently?

In keeping with the priorities of the BSA’s 2020 Equity Action Plan (EAP), we encourage presentations exploring these questions from members of under-represented groups and from scholars with a strong professional practice of engaging with materials created within underrepresented communities. BSA strives to assemble panels that demonstrate and uphold the Society’s values of equity and inclusion in bibliography.

Book History Beyond the Paywall
SHARP-Sponsored Panel, organized by Kate Ozment.

Book history pedagogy has traditionally been associated with access to rare materials and expensive databases, which is a challenge for those who teach from institutions that have less funding or are geographically distant from robust special collections. This roundtable investigates pedagogical strategies for teaching bibliography, book history, and material culture without paywalled resources or trips to rare book rooms. Potential papers could explore using open-access resources, circulating library books, or textbooks from other courses. Papers might also detail building an inexpensive teaching library of eighteenth-century materials or even thrifted paperbacks or discuss how to structure critical making exercises with household items or easily obtainable objects. The goal of the roundtable is to examine how “book history on a budget” can still be a robust and engaging experience for students, and presenters are encouraged to center practical advice and replicable exercises. The roundtable format should allow for robust discussion of pedagogical strategies.

We encourage proposals from diverse constituencies including librarians, instructional faculty, book artists, graduate students, community college faculty, and ECRs. All disciplines and approaches to the teaching of material books are welcome. Proposers need not be members of SHARP to submit, but panelists must be members of both ASECS and SHARP to present. For questions about SHARP membership, please direct inquiries to Eleanor F. Shevlin, SHARP liaison to ASECS, at eshevlin@wcupa.edu.

How to Submit
More information about submission is available on the ASECS 2022 Conference website.