Call for Papers: The Book in Transition, the East and the West

The Book in Transition, the East and the West Symposium

Date: 9 December 2017

Place: G-Lab (6-7th floors), East Research Building, Mita Campus, Keio University, Tokyo

Deadline: 21 August 2017 (Japan time)

Keynote speaker: Dr Paul Needham (Scheide Librarian, Princeton University)

Conveners: Mayumi Ikeda, Mari Agata, & Satoko Tokunaga (Keio University)

Historically, the introduction of a new means or material in book production has led to a change in form, use, perception and even meaning of the book. This process, however, is by no means straightforward and varies among communities, each of which can be met with excitement, confusion, debate and at times rejection, but also, creative breakthroughs which have opened up new horizons in the history of the book. A prime example of this is the introduction of typography, whose impact in Europe is all too well known, but which also brought complex issues and reactions in East Asia, the region that precedes Europe in its evidenced use of typography by more than a century but did not see it thoroughly established until much later.

The above-described process also applies to bibliographical studies, in which the employment of new technologies as tools for analysis has created new possibilities in the field but also stimulated further questions to ask and more problems to solve. In the age of digital technology, the speed and intensity of this trend has become ever greater.

This symposium examines the impact of shifts and developments in the production and study of books in the early modern period. It will be interdisciplinary as well as intercultural, encouraging conversations among scholars of various backgrounds.

Abstracts for papers in English or Japanese are invited from all disciplines, with the book being the subject of research. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Introduction of new methods or materials in bookmaking
  • Shift in the use, perception or meaning of the book
  • Co-existence of old and new forms of books
  • Comparison of means of book production (e.g., handwritten or hand-painted elements vs printed elements)
  • Comparison of bookmaking in different cultures
  • Presentation and/or review of new approaches to book study

Presentation of papers should be no longer than 20 minutes, with additional 5 minutes for questions. Abstracts of 250 words in English or 400 characters in Japanese should be submitted for review at <> by 21 August 2017(Japan time). Results of the review will be notified to applicants in early September. Speakers will be further asked to submit an A4 abstract of the paper by the beginning of November. Accommodation and transport within Japan will be offered to speakers.

For enquiries please e-mail:

The symposium is organized by “The Creation of an Integrated Database for Bibliographical and Visual Analyses of Early Printing in Europe” project under the Keio University Global Research Institute’s Creativity Initiative and funded by Keio University’s Research Grants for Global Initiative Research Projects (

Contact Email:

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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