Black Bibliographia: Print/Culture/Art

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Black Bibliographia: Print/Culture/Art
University of Delaware
April 26-27, 2019

Organized by
Jesse Erickson (Special Collection and English), Laura Helton (English)  & Curtis Small (Special Collections)
and hosted by the
Center for Material Culture Studies
in collaboration with
UD Library, Museums & Press and the
College of Arts & Sciences’ Paul R. Jones Initiative 
Co-sponsored by the English Department and College of Arts & Sciences

Keynote Speakers:
Jacqueline Goldsby & Meredith McGill
Tia Blassingame

Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

Poetry Reading:
Robin Coste Lewis

The second biennial Center for Material Culture Studies conference begins Friday, April 26, with a set of pre-conference workshops.  In UD’s Morris Library, scholars and librarians will lead two workshops highlighting current projects in African diasporic bibliography.  Concurrently, at UD’s Raven Press in the Studio Arts building, Amos Kennedy, Jr. will lead a hands-on printmaking session for interested conference attendees and students.

The conference will officially open Friday afternoon in Morris Library’s Class of 1941 Lecture Room with a welcome by Trevor A. Dawes, May Morris University Librarian and Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums, followed by three scholarly panels on the topics of material culture, circulation, and publishing.  Jacqueline Goldsby and Meredith McGill, co-directors of the Black Bibliography Project, will give the first keynote presentation of the conference, followed by a reception in the Morris Library atrium.  During the reception, Special Collections will exhibit texts and objects representing UD’s holdings in African American print culture.

The conference continues on Saturday in Memorial Hall, opening with a breakfast workshop on building ephemera collections.  Book artist Tia Blassingame will deliver the second keynote presentation, followed by a panel on theorizing the black book.  A lunch in the Memorial Hall Dome will be accompanied by a screening of excerpts from Proceed and Be Bold!, a documentary chronicling the life and work of Amos Kennedy, Jr.  Afternoon panel sessions will explore print laborers and book history.  The conference wraps up with a special reading by poet and National Book Award recipient Robin Coste Lewis, as well as a reception hosted by the Center for Material Culture Studies.


Thursday, April 25
Pre-conference Event
Old College Gallery

Maria Veronica San Martin, a Chilean-born, New York-based artist working in printmaking, artist books, installations, sculpture and performance art, will present her work.  See UD Library, Museums, and Press events page for full details. 

Friday, April 26
Pre-Conference Workshops

Amos Kennedy, Jr./Raven Press Workshop I, Studio Arts Building, 2nd floor
Explore connections that tie the materiality of letterpress printing to Black identities and social justice with Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., the self-proclaimed “humble Negro printer.” Kennedy’s work as a printer has been instrumental in the struggle to achieve greater Black Diasporic representation in contemporary letterpress printing, particularly within the context of the exclusionary history of the American fine press movement. Working in the University of Delaware’s Raven Press, participants will have the chance to get hands on experience with the press and learn some of Kennedy’s improvisational and multi-layered letterpress techniques.  Note: Space is limited.

Bibliography Workshop I, Morris Library, Class of 1941 Lecture Room
Moderated by Laura Helton (English)
Panelists will discuss their current projects to create digital bibliographies of African American and African diasporic literature and print culture.
Amy Earhart & Rebecca Hankins (Texas A&M University), “Bibliography as Activism: Recovering the Afro Scholar Newsletter
Elizabeth Watts Pope (American Antiquarian Society), “Black Self Publishing”
Johnnnieque B. Love (University of Maryland), “Information Professionals of ASALH”

Amos Kennedy, Jr./Raven Press Workshop II, Studio Arts Building, 2nd floor
Printmaker Amos Kennedy, Jr. will repeat his workshop for a second group of participants.

Bibliography Workshop II, Morris Library, Class of 1941 Lecture Room
Moderated by Monet Timmons (PhD student, English & African American Public Humanities Initiative Fellow)
Maryemma Graham, Founder of the Project on the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas, will introduce the Black Book Interactive Project, followed by presentations from current and former project staff.
Arnab Chakraborty (University of Kansas), “Reassessing the Anti-Pastoral Genre as a Black Book”
Alysha Griffin (University of Kansas), “The Black Book as Performative Materiality”
Shelia Bonner (University of Kansas), “Claudia Rankine’s Citizen as Intra/Intertextual Innovation”


Friday, April 26
Panel sessions and Keynote
Morris Library, Class of 1941 Lecture Room

Martin Brückner, Professor of English and Co-Director, Center for Material Culture Studies
Trevor A. Dawes, May Morris University Librarian and Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums
Curtis Small, Jr., Coordinator of Public Services, Special Collections, Morris Library

1:15-2:30—Material Culture
Moderated by Grace Adeneye (Affiliate Assistant Librarian and Pauline A. Young Resident)
Nazera Sadiq Wright (University of Kentucky), “Black Girls and their Nineteenth-Century Autograph Albums”
Alex Black (Hobart & William Smith College), “Providence, Provenance and The Underground Railroad
Marianetta Porter (University of Michigan), “Stories Told in Sunday School”
Myron M. Beasley (Bates College), “Vibration Cooking: Material Culture, Performance, and the Cookbook”

Moderated by Brandi Locke (PhD student, English & Colored Conventions Project Fellow)
Kate McIntyre (Columbia University), “Fugitive Circulations: George Moses Horton, the Politics of Reprinting, and the Spatial Logics of Freedom’s Journal”
Kristin Moriah (Queen’s University), “The Black Swan in Print: Working with and against the Slave Narrative in Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield’s Biography”
Brooks E. Hefner (James Madison University), “Black Pulp Beyond the Book: Radical Forms in African American Newspaper Fiction”


4:00-5:15—Print Culture and Publishing
Moderated by Adam McNeil (PhD student, History & Colored Conventions Project Fellow)
Korey Garibaldi (University of Notre Dame), “The Strange Career of the Harlem Renaissance”
Emily Kader (University of North Carolina), “Recovery and Loss: Materiality, Aesthetics, and Paratext in the Editions of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God
Autumn Womack (Princeton University), “Reprinting the Negro Past, Re-Ordering Black Social Life”
Heidi Morse (University of Michigan), “Before Broadway: For Colored Girls in Radical Women’s Print History”

5:15-6:15—Keynote Presentation
Introduction by John Ernest, Judge Hugh M. Morris Professor of English & Chair, Department of English

“From Lists to Links: Digitizing Descriptive Bibliography to Create New Literary Histories of Black Print”
Jacqueline Goldsby, Professor of English and African American Studies, Yale University
Meredith L. McGill, Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University



Saturday, April 27
Panel sessions and Keynote
Memorial Hall

8:30-9:30—Breakfast workshop, Memorial Dome (3rd floor)
Moderated by Kaari Newman (PhD student, English)
“The Future is Ephemeral: The Importance of Connecting Librarians and Cultural Heritage Workers to Build Ephemeral Collections”
Presented by Sarah C. Carter (Indiana University), Courtney Becks (University of Illinois), and Vaughn Hennen (Dakota State University)

9:30-9:45—Coffee, Memorial Dome (3rd floor)

9:45-10:00—Welcome, Memorial 127
Lauren Hackworth Petersen, Professor of Art History and Interim Associate Dean for the Humanities, College of Arts & Sciences
Martin Brückner, Professor of English and Co-Director, Center for Material Culture Studies
Jesse Erickson, Coordinator of Special Collections and Digital Humanities & Assistant Professor of English

10:00-11:00—Keynote Presentation

Introduction by Colette Gaiter, Associate Professor of Art & Design and Africana Studies

“Printing Race: Printmaking, Poetry, Memorialization and Social Justice/Practice in Artist’s Books”
Tia Blassingame, Director, Scripps College Press and Owner, Primrose Press


11:15-12:30—Theorizing the Black Book, Memorial 127
Moderated by Melissa Benbow (PhD student, English)
Melanie Chambliss (Columbia College Chicago), “Conceptualizing Evidence: The Making of a Negro Americana Collection”
Kita Douglas (Duke University), “‘to know that you are alive’: Archiving the Black Book in the Martin Wong Collection”
Kinohi Nishikawa (Princeton University), “The Part for the Whole: Glenn Ligon’s A People on the Cover
Charlie Gleek (Florida Atlantic University), “Centuries of Black Artists’ Books”

12:30-2:00—Lunch and screening of Proceed and Be Bold! (documentary about letterpress printer Amos Kennedy), Memorial Dome (3rd floor)
Moderated by Jesse Erickson, Coordinator of Special Collections and Digital Humanities & Assistant Professor of English

2:00-3:15—Print Laborers, Memorial 127
Moderated by Kery Lawson (PhD student, History and Museum Studies)
Derrick R. Spires (University of Illinois),  “William Still and African American Literary History”
Phillip Troutman (George Washington University), “Oeuvre or Miscellany?: The Engraving Work of Patrick Henry Reason (1816-1898)”
Jordan Wingate (University of California, Los Angeles), “The ‘negro pressman’ of the Charleston Courier
Marina Bilbija (Wesleyan University), “Wake Work, Black Annotation and Black Redaction as Material Editorial Practices”

3:15-4:30—Literary Lineages, Memorial 127
Moderated by Rachel Nelson (MA student, History and Museum Studies)
Tara A. Bynum (Hampshire College), “Looking for Cesar; Or Cesar Lyndon Has a Pig Roast”
Sabrina Evans (Penn State University), “Passing and Editing: How The Bondwoman’s Narrative Resists Genre Constrictions”
Katy L. Chiles (University of Tennessee), “What is a Black Author in Antebellum America?”
Bryan Sinche (University of Hartford), “Levin Tilmon and the First Black Bibliography”

4:30—Reading by poet Robin Coste Lewis
Introduced by Celeste Doaks, Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing

5:00-6:00—Closing reception, Memorial Dome (3rd floor)

To tweet about the conference, please use @UDMatCult (The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware) and #BlackBib.

All conference sessions will be held on the main campus of the University of Delaware in Newark.  The closest airports are PHL and BWI; Delaware Express Shuttle services both airports if reservations are made in advance.  Newark can be reached by SEPTA on the Wilmington-Newark line (limited on the weekends): DART provides bus service from Wilmington Amtrak to Newark, and Route 33 stops at Park Place and South College Avenue and runs of weekdays and Saturdays. Amtrak trains stop in Newark as well, riding southbound (from New York and Philadelphia) and northbound (from Washington and Baltimore).  Those arriving by car will find visitor parking with hourly rates in the Trabant Center and Center for the Arts garages, both of which are close to the conference venues. There is also a visitors lot on South College Avenue