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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.

The Bibliographical Society of Canada ☙ La Société bibliographique du Canada

Deadline 28 January 2022

Call for Papers: “At the Threshold: Looking Forward, Looking Back” — Bibliographical and Book Studies in Canada

On 16–18 May 2022, Canada’s bibliographical and book studies community will gather virtually for the Annual Conference of the Bibliographical Society of Canada at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. In recognizing the 75th anniversary of the Society’s founding, our conference theme offers an opportunity to reflect critically on the past, present, and future of bibliographical studies.

The study of books is tied inexorably to the past; we examine the deeply-rooted ways bibliography shapes and reflects the world around it. Yet, our discipline also stands at the threshold of a profoundly uncertain future. Amidst change and transformation, we look ahead to new ways of being and understanding in a mutable world. In so doing, we consider what formative legacies we wish to retain and honour—and which we might usefully move beyond towards the end of building a more vibrant and just world.

This paradox evokes the Roman divinity Janus, god of doorways and boundaries, whose two faces look simultaneously at what is coming and what is past. With this image in mind, we invite conference proposals that speak to bibliographic and book history themes of liminality, memory, historicity, futurity, stability, change—and the interstices between them. These might pertain to:

  • Re-imagining and revision in bibliography and book history
  • Decentering whiteness within special collections, bibliography, and book history scholarship
  • Books and print media as intersections of inclusion, exclusion, identity, and belonging
  • Innovation, traditionality, maintenance, and longevity in the theory and practise of bibliography and book history
  • Reflections on ecology, climate change, crisis, and sustainability in book history and bibliography
  • Language, translation, code-switching, and linguistic fluidity in book and print culture
  • Critical histories and legacies of book collecting in the institutional and sociological context
  • Skeuomorphism and the mutability of book form through time, space, and technology
  • Changing “literacies” — plurality in engagement with the text, narrative, and sensory culture
  • Imagination, nostalgia, personality, personas, and whimsy as influences on the material culture of the book
  • The role of labour, craft, and expertise in the production and dissemination of books

Congress 2022, as a virtual event, is being held everywhere and nowhere at once. In recognizing this, we invite participants to reflect on what it means to “acknowledge” Indigeneity and geography where they are. What does “acknowledgement” of Indigenous sovereignty and land stewardship look like as a practice? Does it begin and end as a speech act? A meaningful starting place for reflecting on personal and collective participation in enduring legacies of subjugation and dispossession? How could “acknowledgement” include considerations of Indigenous joy, beauty, and cultural attainment? We invite participants to engage sincerely with these questions.

How to Submit

Please submit a 250-word abstract proposal and brief biography in English or French (including your full name, professional designation, institutional affiliation, or place) no later than 28 January 2022 to

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of ALA

Deadline January 24

Call for Papers: “What now?: Reflection, Reckoning, and Recovery”

In this hybrid gathering, we hope to take a hard look at our field in the wake of the pandemic. Conversations will focus on continuing actions for racial, social, and environmental justice, along with examining opportunities to focus our efforts toward effecting necessary change. The Call for Proposals includes all session formats including seminars, panels, posters/lightning talks, workshops, and discussions (a separate call for People’s Choice sessions will follow next year). The RBMS 2022 Conference Program Planning Committee welcomes the opportunity to help anyone interested in contributing to create proposals that connect to the program’s themes. Please do not hesitate to contact committee chairs Heather Cole and/or Emilie Hardman with questions or ideas.

Learn more about my conference here.