Editors: Ann Blair, Anthony Grafton, Earle Havens
This series is directed toward a broad scholarly readership interested in the material and cultural circumstances that have surrounded and shaped the production, reading, and public consumption of texts, as analog material artifacts in manuscript and print, or through their transformation into digital objects within particularly meaningful contributions to the digital humanities today. Of special interest to this series are expansive studies of scholarly discourses and practices of learned communication that embrace and present concrete evidence of interactions among books, the texts they contain, and the readers who read them over time and across traditional historical periodization. Of equal interest is the history of documentary management and information systems: the history of libraries, archives, networks for the exchange of documents of all sorts, sites, and mechanisms of paperwork and historical record-making.
This series engages with vital discussions taking place now among academics, librarians, and digital humanists, along these lines of intellectual, practical, and technological convergence within the broader history of scholarship and scholarly communication. Its purpose is to spark a fresh and expansive debate about the history of the book, of historical reading practices, and the documentary construction of the “historical record.” Information Cultures gravitates from traditional “history of the book” studies rooted in bibliography and the study of politico- economic and intellectual traditions that have historically shaped “print culture” studies, moving towards the analysis of what historians of science have sometimes called “paper tools”: texts configured for specific uses of one kind or another. The series also abandons the traditional assumption that the history of books begins with print, and invites examination of the many texts that were studied and practices that were pursued in multiple textual realms in the historical past.
Contributors of books to this series will undertake a more fluid cultural engagement with texts of all kinds—written as well as printed, documentary as well as literary, political, and religious. Those engagements will be treated as composite phenomena encompassing technology, popular and changing modes of communication, and the human subjectivities that compel them, in authorship, publication, readership, and in the collection, arrangement, and use of information.
These components will be conceived as constituent manifestations of the broader transaction of plural (and pluralizing) Information Cultures from antiquity to the modern and digital realms.
The series’ embrace of a more expansive and technological approach to the culture and commerce of texts and textual objects across formats—and across conventional historical periodization—is intended to appeal to the existing, robust community of historians of reading, mostly in history and English departments, but also broaden that discourse to academics throughout the humanities and social sciences disciplines, as well as to academic leaders and administrators, and those employed in research libraries, from rare books and archives to centers of digital scholarship, and well beyond.