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History of the Kook

8 September 2021 - 9 September 2021

10:00AM - 7:00PM


  • Free

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Organized by Sare Aricanli, Laura Leon Llerena and Luke Sunderland. Sessions will generally last around 60 minutes, with 15-minute papers followed by discussion. Sessions with 4 papers may run to 75 minutes. All times British Summer Time (BST, GMT +1). To Register: For full information:

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Durham History of the Book Conference. A forum for scholars working on premodern book cultures from across the globe

Wednesday 8 September

10am – Structuring Knowledge within Books I

Chair: Matthew Eddy

Emma Spary (Cambridge University, UK)
“Organizing the Cure in French Works of Materia Medica around 1700”

Benjamin J.Q. Khoo (National Library of Singapore, Singapore)
“Unfamiliar Visions: Charting Compendia Entries of the Malay Peninsula, 1674-1819”

Rickard Gustavsson (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
“Building a Structure of Knowledge: The Lexicography of Wang Anshi (1201-1086) and Lu Dian (1042-1102)”

12pm – Margins

Chair: Ita Mac Carthy

Charlotte Ross (St Cross College, Oxford, UK)
“‘Who so sal tellen a tale’: Fifteenth-Century Priorities and the Spurious Additions of MS Lansdowne 851”

Nimet İpek (Sabancı University, Turkey)
“You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover: Changing Perceptions of Meaning of the Text in Islamic Manuscript Culture through Margin Spaces”

Charlotte McCallum (Queen Mary, University of London, UK)
“Transforming Republican Knowledge in Early Caroline England: Edward Dacres’s Translations of the Discourses (1636) and The Prince (1640)”


12pm – The Instrumental Past: Adaptation and Innovation in Hispanic Medieval and Early Modern Written Culture

Chair: Shazia Jagot

Sacramento Roselló (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
“Trojan Distinction: The Matter of Troy in the Medieval and Early Modern Library”

Yarí Pérez Marín (Durham University, UK)
“Social Aspiration and Gender Roles in Early Colonial Mexico: European Divination Texts and the Mofarandel de los Oráculos de Apolo”

Joana-Isabel Duyster Borreda (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
“The Building of the Spanish Collections in Scandinavia: Fashionable Distinction and Political Power”

2pm – Structuring Knowledge within Books II

Chair: Sare Aricanli

Tom Henderson (Linacre College, Oxford, UK)
“The Tabulae of Robert Grosseteste’s Dicta”

Pilar Recio Bazal (Complutense University of Madrid, Spain)
“The Cosmological Reinvention of the Etymologies of Isidore of Seville: Continental Hybridizations and Peninsular Receptions”

Louisiane Ferlier (Centre for the History of Science, The Royal Society, UK)
“Below the Fold: An Investigation of Fold-outs as Places of Scientific Knowledge in the Royal Society Collections”

2pm – The Fate of Books

Chair: Venetia Bridges

Ioannis Siopis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation, Greece)
“The Books of the Heretics and their Treatment by the Byzantine State”

Oliver Hargrave (University of Oxford, UK)
“Care for books, borrowed books and veneration of documents in sixth-century China”

Michael Durrant (Bangor University, UK)
“A Lost Book Found: The Remedy of Loue (1584) and the Court Books of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Chester”

Soledad González (Universidad Bernardo O’Higgins, Chile)
“A Three-century Journey: The Lost Manuscript of the History of the Incas by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa”

4pm – Structuring Knowledge within Books III

Chair: David Howell

Innocent Smith (St. Mary’s Seminary and University, US)
“Foliation and the Organization of Knowledge in Medieval Bibles”

Tina Montenegro (Wesleyan University, US)
“From Division to Order: Philosophy in the Trésor and in the Livre de la Mutacion de Fortune”

Aya Van Renterghem (Durham University, UK)
“Organising Alphabets in Carolingian Manuscripts”

Mindi Zhang (University of California, Los Angeles, US)
“The Publisher’s Libraries: Classifying and Cataloging Books in Republican China”

4pm – Connecting Cultures via Books I

Chair: Laura Leon Llerena

Seonaid Valiant (Arizona State University, US)
“Zelia Nuttall and the San Marcos Codex”

Marta Ortiz Canseco (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)
“Traducciones en el Renacimiento europeo: el caso del Inca Garcilaso de la Vega”
NB this paper with be delivered in Spanish with English subtitles

Amber Brian (University of Iowa, US)
“Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s Historia de la nación chichimeca: The Organization and Circulation of Indigenous Knowledge”

4pm – Reinventing Genres

Chair: Christopher Bahl

Jiayi Chen (University of Chicago, US)
“Weaving Reverie: Remediating Playing Cards in Early Modern Chinese Books”

Megan E. Fox (University of Wisconsin-Madison, US)
“James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps: Dis/Organizing Shakespearean Literary History”

Noel Blanco Mourelle (University of Chicago, US)
“Ramon Llull’s Learning Machines”

6pm – Plenary Session

Chair: Luke Sunderland

Discussion of the day’s papers. Session chairs will summarize the broad lines of discussion from their sessions, before open discussion to allow for cross-panel exchanges of ideas.

Thursday 9 September

10am – Trading Books

Chair: Laura Leon Llerena

Karen Waring (Bath Spa University, UK)
“Conceptualizing and Constructing the Stationers’ Registers, 1557-1620”

Agnes Gehbald (Universität Bern, Switzerland)
“An Unpublished Calendar: On Science and Religion as Subjects in Peruvian Colonial Printing”

Mario Cams (University of Macau, China)
“The Order of Space: Reading Ming China’s Comprehensive Geographies”

10am – Connecting Cultures via Books II

Chair: Sare Aricanli

Sunny Xin Liu (University of Central Lancashire, UK)
“One Word, One World”

Xiangming Chen (University of Oxford, UK)
“A Pictorial Travel Guide to an Unreachable Land: Issues of Authenticity in Morokoshi meishō zue”

Stephen H. Whiteman (The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, UK)
“Books for Princesses and Khans: The Diffuse History of Imperial Poems on the Mountain Estate”

12pm – Circulation and Transmission of Texts and the Production of Knowledge

Chair: David Howell

Christopher D. Bahl (Durham University, UK)
“Transmitting Knowledge in Mobile Arabic Manuscripts”

Sare Aricanli (Durham University, UK)
“Translation of Western Medicine in the Early Modern Chinese Court? Considering the Stability of ‘Disciplinary’ Categories from the Eighteenth Century”

Anastasiia Akulich (University of Manchester, UK)
“‘St. Petersburg Bible’: A Manchu Bible Published in Russia for a British Missionary Society and the Transnational Networks of Knowledge that Produced It”

Donald Sturgeon (Durham University, UK)
“Reorganizing Historical Sources for the Digital Age”

12pm – Seeing is Believing: Ibn al-Haytham, Optics and Perception

Chair: Giles Gasper

Nader El-Bizri (American University of Beirut, Lebanon); Giles Gasper (Durham University, UK); Tom McLeish (University of York, UK); and Shazia Jagot (University of York, UK)

Four interlocked presentations on “Ibn al-Haytham: Life, Context, Evidence, and Interests”; “How the Optics is Organised”; “A Case-study of Perception and Experiment”; “Implications for the Reception of Ibn al-Haytham’s Thought”

2pm – Structuring Knowledge within Books IV

Chair: Neil Cartlidge

Mirsa Acevedo Molina (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
“The Great Stemma in the Tenth-Century Beatus”

Ashley Gonik (Harvard University, US)
“Diving into the Numbers: Long Series of Quantitative Tables in Print”

Ernest Caldwell (SOAS, University of London, UK)
“Organising Legal Knowledge and Controlling Legal Practice in Early China: Exegetical Texts and Legal Case Collections from the Qin and Han Dynasties”

2pm – Encyclopaedism

Chair: Luke Sunderland

Rodrigo Bozzetti (Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brazil)
“Encyclopedism before Diderot and d’Alembert: The Search for World Harmony in the Seventeenth Century”

Francesca Canadè Sautman (Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, US)
“From Tides to Empires, From Marvelous Plants to World Languages: Claude Duret (1570-1611) and the Circulation of Polymathic Knowledge”

4pm – Libraries as Knowledge Landscapes

Chair: Barbara Ravelhofer

Alan R. Van den Arend (Johns Hopkins University, US)
“The Sala della Segnatura, a Renaissance Thinking Machine”

Danielle Westerhof (Durham University, UK)
“Finding John Cosin’s ‘Good Books’: Classification and Information Retrieval in Cosin’s Library”

Paola Molino (Università di Padova, Italy)
“‘When Knowledge Squared was knowledge Shared”: Library Catalogues and the Disorder of Knowledge between 1570 and 1650”

Daniel Fleming (The Cotton Library, St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, Republic of Ireland)
“Theological Taxonomy – The Catalogue of The Cotton Library, Lismore”

4pm – Translating Religions

Chair: Laura Chuhan Campbell

Yu Zhang Stearns (Loyola University Maryland, US)
“Translation and Circulation of the Bible in Pre-Modern China”

Bláithín Hurley (Central Library, Waterford, Ireland)
“Order amid Chaos: Translating of the Old Testament into Irish during the Irish Rebellion of 1642”

Gabriela Benner (University of Porto, Portugal)
“The Organization of Knowledge about Other Cultures (Religious Difference) as Depicted in European Works of Art of the Fifteenth Century CE”

4pm – Constructing Identities in Books and Documents

Chair: Graeme Small

Eunice Yu (University of Oxford, UK)
“Harmonising Paradox in Early Modern Venice: Collecting and Constructing National Identity in Print”

Xin Yu (Washington University in St. Louis, US)
“The Material Production of Genealogy Books in Early Modern China, 1450-1644”

Tom Zago (University of Cambridge, UK)
“Dislocating Knowledge, Appropriating Space: The Provincial Archives of the Province of Luxembourg in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries”

6pm – Plenary Session

Chair: Luke Sunderland

Discussion of the day’s papers. Session chairs will summarize the broad lines of discussion from their sessions, before open discussion to allow for cross-panel exchanges of ideas.