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Upcoming Events

BSA programs take place both in-person and online. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Society has canceled in-person events and is exclusively hosting virtual events for the time being. This page will be updated with details about resuming in-person events when it is safe to do so. Registration is required for all of the virtual events.

In all BSA events, the material text – that is, the handwritten, printed, or other textual artifact, 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.

All of the events listed below will be live captioned in English, with accompanying machine-generated translations of live-generated captions into Spanish. Additional options may be offered, read full description for more information.

To request ASL interpretation for any event, please email

Upcoming Virtual Events: Fall/Winter 2021

Collecting, Knowledge, and Power: Perspectives from Latin America |

Coleccionismo, conocimiento y poder: perspectivas desde América Latina (Lea este texto en español aquí.)

This fall series explores the hemispheric histories and contemporary dynamics of collecting and preserving Latin American library and archival materials. Featuring scholars and library and archive professionals based in Latin America and the U.S., the series aims to promote dialogue among scholars and practitioners while confronting ways in which power dynamics have shaped and continue to shape collecting and stewardship practices today.

Cosponsored by the Programa Historia del Patrimonio Documental Mexicano, Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

November 1, 2021 at 3pm ET (Zoom Webinar) – Registration & Speaker Bio
Libraries, Collecting, and Area Legibility: Early Latin American Collections in the United States (1880-1945) | Bibliotecas, coleccionismo y legibilidad de áreas: primeras colecciones latinoamericanas en los Estados Unidos (1880-1945)

Ricardo Salvatore, Universidad Torcuato di Tella
During the age of Pan-Americanism (1890-1940), US universities started to build impressive collections of “Latino-Americana.”  They collected books, periodicals, government papers, and manuscripts relating to Latin America. “South America” attracted special attention for, around the time of the First World War, the sub-continent became, in the eyes of North-American businessmen, the new land of opportunity for commerce and investment. Central to this new enterprise of accumulation of knowledge was the understanding of the past. Collectors showed enormous interest in artifacts of ancient Andean cultures, manuscripts of the early Spanish colonial period, and Spanish chronicles of the Conquest. Apparently, there was little connection between the interests of North-American investors (in petroleum, railroads, tramways, meat-packing, land, and financial and commercial services) and those of university archives and libraries. But, as the earlier “Latin-Americanists” acknowledged, the commercial penetration of “South America” required an understanding of the region’s culture, society and politics. And the keys to this understanding were to be found in the colonial period. In addition, collectors of “Latino-Americana” build a strong a recurrent parallel between the commercial conquest of South America and the military and spiritual conquest carried out by the Spaniards in the early sixteenth century.

Black Bestselling Books: An Interview Series on the Essence Book Project

In 1994 Essence Magazine began publishing a list of bestselling fiction and non-fiction books as a response to mounting frustrations Black writers and readers had with the American publishing industry. Beyond luminaries like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker publishing for African American authors was nearly impossible. The EBSL was compiled from sales data shared by Black owned bookstores in the United States and Canada. The Essence Book Project, launched in 2016, uses digital technology to reframe the utility of the EBSL to include a computationally conceptualized view of the Black literary landscape at the turn of the twenty-first century. The project is both a digitized version of the EBSL and a growing archive of electronic copies of each title ranked on the list.

Join the Bibliographical Society of America in a series of conversations on the Essence Book Project. This series is variously co-sponsored by the project on History of Black Writing, the Black Women’s Studies Association, the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography, and the Women and Gender Studies program at the University of New Orleans.


November 17, 2021, 4-5:30pm ET (Zoom Webinar) POSTPONED: Check back for the new date & time or register now to receive updates by email.
The Toni-Terry Problem with Black Books: A Conversation with Essence Bestsellers’ Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant
(Moderated by Jacinta R. Saffold, co-sponsored by the Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography) – Registration & Speaker Bios

Bestselling co-authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant will consider how breakout authors like Toni Morrison and Terry McMillan came to define, and at times constrain, the field of popular African American literature, the impact of resources like the Essence Bestsellers’ List on their work, and the industry’s way forward.

December 8, 2021, 4-5:30pm (Zoom Webinar) POSTPONED: Check back for the new date & time or register now to receive updates by email.

The Magic of Editing Black Bestselling Books: A Conversation with Dawn Davis and Jacinta R. Saffold – Registration & Speaker Bios

Jacinta R. Saffold facilitates Dawn Davis—now Editor-in-Chief at Bon Appetit—sharing her experiences editing numerous titles that went on to dominate the Essence Bestsellers’ List, including how she made editorial decisions amidst the terrain shifting from print to digital books.

Recorded Virtual Events Available on YouTube

Click here to peruse the playlist of recorded webinars on the BSA’s YouTube Channel.

The Society is working to be sure that accurate captions in English and Spanish are uploaded for YouTube videos within 2 to 3 weeks of posting online. Thank you for your patience as we work through the kinks in implementing this new program!