Centre for the Book Symposium: Books and the Pacific - Call for Papers

By Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature | Posted: Sunday June 12, 2022

Each year, the Centre for the Book at the University of Otago organizes a symposium with a theme that is designed for all participants to engage with ideas about New Zealand’s place in the world and the roles that books and print have played in shaping those ideas.

The theme for the 2022 Centre of the Book Research Symposium is ‘Books and the Pacific’. Increasingly New Zealand positions itself as a Pacific nation, and engages extensively with many Pacific nations; witness the most recent discussions surrounding the influence, impact and role of China in the Pacific. In some sense this Pacific engagement has always occurred, from the first waka voyaging southward and westward to reach Aotearoa, to Tasman and Cook’s meanderings among islands on their voyages west, to the whalers and the missionaries in the nineteenth century. Print has long played a vital part in Pacific nations: government publications, missionary printing, and those pamphlets that helped standardize and codify many of the diverse Pacific languages are just some of the ongoing legacies of print in the Pacific.

In this brief context, abstracts are welcome that examine any aspect of how books, newspapers, and the written word in all its forms have transported, colonised, represented and misrepresented ideas about New Zealand and the Pacific.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Impacts of literacy, intentional or unintentional
  • Trade and production of print in each nation
  • Literacy among peoples indigenous and colonial
  • Print and control
  • Print and indigenous art
  • Books imported, donated, discarded
  • How books and print shape, define or disrupt our sense of place
  • Role of books and print in shaping, defining or sustaining diaspora communities
  • Books and print and evangelism in the Pacific
  • Books and print and food in the Pacific
  • Books and print and scientific exchange in the Pacific

Please submit abstracts of 250–300 words to the Centre for the Book (books@otago.ac.nz) by 1 September. Feel free to contact either of the organisers, Shef Rogers (shef.rogers@otago.ac.nz) or Donald Kerr (donald.kerr@otago.ac.nz), if you have any questions. 

They aim to send out notifications about acceptances and a draft programme by mid-September.


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