We are pleased to announce the Fall 2021 schedule for the Virtual Book Talks series. Our lineup includes a variety of topics including astronomy and printing the universe, nineteenth-century printing in Mexico, African American literary practice, and the politics of Native American writing.
We ended our summer with Elizabeth Kimball, Assistant Professor of English at Drexel University, who discussed her title Translingual Inheritance: Language Diversity in Early National Philadelphia (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021). Like all of our virtual programs, this talk was recorded and is available on the AAS YouTube channel.
Today, September 30, we launch our fall season with Gordon Fraser, Lecturer and presidential fellow in American Studies at the University of Manchester, who will present a lecture on his new title Star Territory: Printing the Universe in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021).
In Star Territory, Fraser explores how from its beginning, agents of the state, including President John Adams, Admiral Charles Henry Davis, and astronomer Maria Mitchell, participated in large-scale efforts to map the nation onto cosmic space. Through almanacs, maps, and star charts, practical information and exceptionalist mythologies were transmitted to the nation’s soldiers, scientists, and citizens.
This is, however, only one part of the story Fraser tells. From the country’s first Black surveyors, seamen, and publishers to the elected officials of the Cherokee Nation and Hawaiian resistance leaders, other actors established alternative cosmic communities. These Black and indigenous astronomers, prophets, and printers offered ways of understanding the heavens that broke from the work of the U.S. officials for whom the universe was merely measurable and exploitable.
The virtual book talk series is an academic program that showcases authors of recently published scholarly monographs broadly related to book history and print culture. Each installment includes a presentation from the author and a Q&A with the audience. This monthly program is held on the last Thursday of every month at 2PM.
These programs are free to attend but require advanced registration. More details about the program and the fall lineup may be found here: https://americanantiquarian.org/virtual-book-talks.
If you’re interested in book history, you may also wish to sign up for our mailing list. Questions may be directed at Kevin Wisniewski, Director of Book History and Digital Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you at one of our next programs!