Keynote announcement: Typewriters around the world: machines, practices, cultures

Vaibhav Singh's picture
Call for Papers
July 10, 2020
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Business History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Popular Culture Studies


Typewriters around the world: machines, practices, cultures 

• • •

Two day international conference

Conference convener: Dr Vaibhav Singh, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Reading

• • • 


DAVID ARNOLD (University of Warwick) 
The typewriter as protagonist: India’s new age of technology, 1890–1920

RAJA ADAL (University of Pittsburgh)
The print sublime: a material history of world scripts in the age of the typewriter

• • • 

Full call for papers, abstracts and bios of keynote speakers can be accessed here:

Histories of typewriters often seem to imply a stable, universal, linguistically unspecific machine – overlooking the variations, divergences, the richness of methods and practices in a global context. In addition, texts produced on these machines have constituted minor footnotes in the history of print, design, and technological infrastructure – despite having introduced transformative negotiations between language and technology, writing and politics, labour, legibility, and the body. This conference situates typewriters, typewriting, and their myriad communities within a rarely seen diversity of languages, interactions, and interfaces. It aims to bring together scholars, researchers, designers, collectors, and enthusiasts working in this under-explored area of considerable significance, to offer a glimpse of critical enquiry related to typewriters for different writing systems, different communities of practice.

We invite proposals for presentations of 20-minute duration. Please send an abstract (300 words) and short bio (150 words) to

Deadline for abstract submission: 10 April 2020 
Date of conference: 9–10 July 2020 
Conference venue: Wellcome Collection, London 
Venue address: 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE 
Conference convener: Dr Vaibhav Singh, University of Reading 
Email enquiries:

• • • 

Registration fees (£30 early-booking, £40 regular) apply to speakers and attendees of this conference. We are unable to cover costs involved in travel and accommodation. Tea/coffee and lunch will be provided during the conference. Please register as early as convenient, places limited by hall capacity. 

Authors of select proposals will be invited (no obligations) to publish extended versions of their papers in a peer-reviewed journal issue of Contextual Alternate. Submission guidelines for the journal can be found here: