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Print and Power: USTC 2018 Conference Roundup

USTC Conference Crowd

By Nina Lamal |

Between June 21 and 23, the Universal Short Title Catalogue team hosted its annual book conference.  This year’s conference theme was Print and Power, organised by Jamie Cumby (University of St Andrews), Nina Lamal (University of Antwerp) and Helmer Helmers (University of Amsterdam) and generously supported by the History Department of the University of Antwerp. Within the scope of the conference theme, scholars from across Europe, the United States, and Canada discussed multiple ways in which civic and ecclesiastical authorities recognized the potential and power of print, and how it was used to govern and communicate with their citizens from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.

The conference hosted sixty attendees at St Mary’s College where twenty-six papers, spread over two and half days, provided stimulating conversations and discussions. The conference began with a panel on printing for the government with case studies from Germany, the southern Low Countries and Papal Bologna. Later that day, papers discussed printing propaganda and news in papal Rome, France, the Dutch Republic, and the Holy Roman Empire. The day ended with two more papers on the role of printed books within international relations. On Friday, panels focused on the reformation in England and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as the challenging of religious authorities in Milan, Antwerp and London. Other sessions were dedicated to the power of the image within print, and how patronage enabled the tracing of careers of individual printers in Italy and Krakow. The conference ended on Saturday with a panel devoted to printing in the Dutch Republic and a session on the use of print by colonial trading companies and institutions.

 

Launch of Alexandra Hill's book
Dr Alexandra Hill with Prof Andrew Pettegree (left) and Brill representative Arjan van Dijk at the launch of Hill’s book Lost Books and Printing in London, 1557-1640.

During the evening, the conference provided further activities. On Thursday evening, the University of St Andrews Library Special Collections exhibited lots of wonderful material related to our participants’ papers. Among the items on display were sixteenth-century Italian ordinances printed in Bologna and Naples. A specific book of interest was an Arabic translation of Euclid’s Elements, which was printed in Rome in 1594 in the Typographia Medicea. This oriental press was a commercial venture, heavily sponsored by Cardinal Ferdinando de Medici, who aimed to sell these Arabic books in the Ottoman Empire. On Friday evening the participants enjoyed a wine and beer reception, which celebrated the launch of St Andrews’ graduate Dr Alexandra Hill’s monograph Lost Books and Printing in London, 1557-1640. An Analysis of the Stationers’ Company Register.

The proceedings of this conference will be published in Brill’s The Library of the Written Word. Next year, another conference will take place, with the theme of  Crisis or Enlightenment? Developments in the Book Trade, 1650-1750. This conference will happen between 20 and 22 June – for more information, please visit http://www.ustc.ac.uk/index.php/site/conference.

 

This blog post was first published on the University of St Andrews School of History blog: http://standrewsschoolofhistory.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/st-andrews-book-conference-2018-print-and-power/

 

Images by Drew Thomas.