Impagination: Forms, Media, and Circulation of Writing and Publication. International Conference in Comparative History of Philology

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March 20, 2017 to March 22, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Humanities, Intellectual History, World History / Studies

This conference looks deeply and comparatively into a specific theme that is intrinsic to all philological pursuits, namely impagination. It concentrates on the page and develops ways of describing it precisely and analyzing its forms and functions in multiple traditions. The participants want to focus upon the page or other scriptorial unit as concretely as possible, and ask questions such as:

  • What exactly is a page, and is it the only and inevitable way of organizing texts?
  • How do different writing media (papyrus, parchment, bamboo, paper, silk, ostraka, the electronic screen) affect the distribution of text and the choices that editors must make?
  • What are the practical but also the aesthetic dimensions of the placement of text on a page?
  • How do editors try to remedy the defects of any one medium?

Keeping a global reach, this conference gives a greater space to East Asia, the region where it takes place. The other papers examine the rest of the world, especially Europe. The papers of this conference are firmly rooted in local cultures and together address global, comparative themes that are significant to multiple disciplines.

Combining the different case studies and approaches applied to them, the papers of this conference model a genuinely comparative form of inquiry, and contribute to the intellectual and cultural history of knowledge (both humanistic and scientific), global history, literary and media studies, aesthetics, studies of material culture, among others.

Organizers: Kevin Chang, Anthony Grafton, and Glenn Most


  • Kevin Chang, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Keysook Choe, Yonsei University, Korea
  • Theo Dunkelgrün, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Anthony Grafton, Princeton, US (absent)*
  • Loretta E. Kim, University of Hong Kong
  • Christoph König, University of Osnabrück, Germany
  • Kimiko Kono, Waseda University, Japan
  • Ren-Yuan Li, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Shenyu Lin, Fo Guang University, Taiwan
  • Glenn Most, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy; University of Chicago, US; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
  • Goran Proot, Università degli Studi di Udine, Italy
  • Michael Puett, Harvard University, US
  • Bruce Rusk, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Tyler Williams, University of Chicago, US
  • Andrea Worm, University of Graz, Austria (absent)
      * Paper to be read by Glenn Most 

Discussant: Ruey-Lin Chang, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria

Session Chair: Kasper Risbjerg Eskildsen, Roskilde University, Denmark


Location: Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, TAIWAN

Contact Info: 

For questions, please contact Kevin Chang at

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