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Early Modern Typography/Race/Gender Roundtable

Early Modern Typography/Race/Gender Roundtable

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This roundtable will discuss how early modern typography—broadly construed as the design and disposition of type on the page and within the bounds of the book—was anything but a neutral container for the publication of early modern writing. Indeed, the very idea of black ink on white paper was frequently used to produce and mediate discourses of race and gender in plays, poems, and other literary and non-literary texts printed in the period. Panelists will discuss from various angles the metaphorics and literal uses of type, ink, paper, and the mechanics of printing to demonstrate how textual design functioned as a site for negotiating and securing a discourse of whiteness that—in effect and in reality—marginalized non-conforming bodies and identities. We will also discuss whether early modern typography might challenge this discourse. 


B.K. Adams will be an assistant professor of English at Arizona State University starting in August of 2021.  Her research interests include the  history of reading, the history of the book, premodern critical race theory of early modern England as well as modern editorial practices of early modern English drama. She also writes about contemporary theatrical retellings of early modern drama and history, with a  forthcoming article on Othello and Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor  in the journal Shakespeare.

Erika Boeckeler is associate professor of English at Northeastern University. She is the author of Playful Letters: A Study in Early Modern Alphabetics (UIowaP, 2017). She has published article-length studies on early modern women’s printers’ devices, the poetic typography of Q1 Hamlet, Albrecht D?rer’s Self-Portrait of 1500, the first architectural alphabet, and other topics. She is also the editor of Shakespeare’s poem, “A Louers Complaint,” at Internet Shakespeare Editions. Her current book project examines the poetics of typography and the visual features—such as printers’ devices and pictorial type—of early modern books, and is shaped by feminist and anti-racist bibliographical practices.

Claire M. L. Bourne is Assistant Professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University. She is author of Typographies of Performance in Early Modern England (OUP 2020) and editor of the collection Shakespeare / Text (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2021). She has published extensively on early modern book design and reading practices in venues such as PBSA, ELR, Shakespeare, and a number of edited collections. She has edited Fletcher and Massinger's The Sea Voyage for the new Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama and is currently editing Henry the Sixth, Part 1, for the Arden Shakespeare, 4th series. She is collaborating with Jason Scott-Warren on several projects about John Milton's annotated copy of the Shakespeare First Folio and is working on a second book tentatively entitled Accidental Shakespeare about the role of textual accident in the editorial tradition. 

Jill Gage is the Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing and Bibliographer for British Literature and History at the Newberry Library. She curated the 2016 exhibition Creating Shakespeare. Her current project is A Show of Hands: 500 Years of the Art & Technology of Handwriting, scheduled to open in September 2022.

Miles P. Grier is Assistant Professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York. He is author of the forthcoming monograph tentatively entitled Inkface: Othello and the Formation of White Interpretive Community, 1604-1855 and co-editor of Early Modern Black Diaspora Studies. His previous essays addressing the history of racial profiling, Joni Mitchell’s blackface pimp alter ego, and the trope of blackness as illiteracy in early modern English theatre and travel literature have appeared in Politics and Culture, Genders, Journal of Popular Music Studies, William and Mary Quarterly, and the volume Scripturalizing the Human.



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