On Thursday, April 16 and Friday, April 17 of 2015, a conference will be held at the Univerisity of Virginia to explore the topic of books and readers in the pre-modern world. The event will be held at the Harrison Small Auditorium on UVA grounds.
The ubiquity of the book in literate societies can blind us to its complex social and cultural functions in particular times and places. The materials out of which books are made, the physical form that they take, the way scripts and images are inscribed on their surfaces, the kinds of texts they preserve, and the means by which they are circulated, consumed, and even performed can illuminate economic and environmental conditions, ideological agendas, and the ways networks function within and between cultures. Studies of book culture have increased exponentially in recent years, and the aim of this conference is to offer an inter-disciplinary, cross-cultural analysis of the status quaestionis in dialogue with one exceptionally influential volume, Harry Gamble’s Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History of Early Christian Texts, which in 2015 will mark its twentieth anniversary.
The conference is sponsored by the Page-Barbour Fund, the Ancient History Fund, the Department of Classics, the Department of Art History, the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion, the Department of Religious Studies, and the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures.