Founded in 1993 by Professor Peter Stallybrass (English, emeritus) and the Penn Libraries, the Workshop in the History of Material Texts is a weekly seminar, held in the library, that features scholars presenting a wide variety of research in book history, bibliography, manuscript studies, history of reading, publication and printing, and related topics. Subjects range widely in chronology and in geography: from the ancient world to the modern and with a global scope. The usual format of the workshop is a presentation of approximately thirty minutes, followed by discussion. Talks are accompanied by PowerPoint presentations, handouts, or other visual materials. Materials from Penn's special collections are often displayed as part of the workshop.
All are welcome to attend (non-Penn visitors should bring photo ID to enter the library). Participants, including faculty, librarians, graduate and undergraduate students, conservators, booksellers, and others, come from a wide range of disciplines.
Information about past seminars and related materials is available through the Workshop in the History of Material Texts website.
The Workshop in the History of Material Texts is supported by the School of Arts and Sciences through the Department of English and hosted by the Penn Libraries. The co-directors of the seminar are Professor Zachary Lesser (English), Jerry Singerman (Penn Press), and John Pollack (Kislak Center, Penn Libraries).
Associated with the workshop is the book series in Material Texts published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes many monographs that have emerged from presentations given at the workshop over the years.