Beyond the printing press: alternative means of production in the global history of print
TYPEWRITERS, DUPLICATORS, COPIERS, and a myriad other means of production and reproduction of textual/visual matter have been a vital part of print cultures across the world. The ‘agents of change’ in the global history of printing and publishing, across the twentieth century in particular, have been other processes, other mechanisms, other devices than the printing press. This conference focuses on the role of such alternative or additional means of knowledge production and dissemination – tools like stencils, mimeographs, duplicators, photocopiers, the processes of strike-on and rub-down lettering, cyclostyle, xerography, to name just a few. Despite their marginal location in print history such means and processes of production have had significant influence in wide-ranging contexts of political activism, countercultures, resistance and student movements, and indeed in confronting and challenging censorship. But they have also been indispensable in mundane office use, in the classroom, and in the day-to-day personal consumption of, and access to, information.
We invite papers that examine the global history of small-scale technologies as well as the situational or selective deployment of alternative modes of print production across the world. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, practical and theoretical aspects, business histories, design and manufacture, the publications and publics of such endeavours, as well as practice-based enquiries and archival questions related to the longevity or ephemerality of their productions. The conference is particularly interested in investigations of Asian and African contexts where such alternatives may have had other functions or entirely different implications. Papers addressing oral histories, narratives of personal engagement, case studies of contextual adaptation and use are welcome, as are those that explore connections between geographical, socioeconomic, and linguistic contexts of printing through other means.