Episode 7: SHARP Conference Recap

Last month Ellen and Laura presented at the annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing (SHARP) in Amherst, Massachusetts.

UMass Amherst’s pond, showing off our name tags, and view from the W.E.B. Du Bois Library

New England has a rich history, filled with authors, publishers, and printers, such as Benjamin Franklin, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Noah Webster. It is also a gorgeous part of the US and an area that has long been inhabited by Native Americans.

The northeast region’s Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley sits at a crossroads of Indigenous nations and continues to be a central gathering place for Native American and Indigenous Studies scholars as well as for Native American and Indigenous leaders, artists, writers, and activists.

Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies

The conference theme was Indigeneity, Nationhood & Migrations of the Book. Amherst was an interesting place to host this topic, named as it is after a man who hoped to spread smallpox to the native inhabitants in 1763 through infected blankets. Both Laura and Ellen presented on topics related to indigeneity (Look out for our future blog posts about these topics!), but the three days of presentations touched on the significance of wampum belts, Japanese reading spaces, women printers, book of the month clubs, digital book piracy, and much, much more!

Cats, pins, and prints: textiles from the Folly Cove designers, buttons from the fabulous Women’s Book History, and prints from Detroit artist Ann Mikolowski

Inspired by the talks and the card game Super Frauen (English: Wonder Women), we play our own version: Women Who Make “Books”.

making “books” (four of a kind) out of book-making women

Listen below or on Spotify to hear what we have to say about out conference experience and learn about some super women. You can also find us on Anchor, Google Podcasts, and Radio Public.

Next year’s SHARP conference will be in Amsterdam (Yay!) and the theme is The Power of the Written Word. We’re already brainstorming…

Links to…
check out SHARP or join their mailing list
see the conference program and read presenter information.
“The Town of Amherst – What’s in a Name?”
writing by Professor Ron Welburn
Women in Book History
newly released book The Frankfurt Kabuff (book historians don’t just study books – they write them, too!)

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