A conference on South and Southeast Asian printing history will be held at the Royal Asiatic Society, London, on Tuesday 26 March 2019.

Technologies of print in South and Southeast Asia

Histories of print in South and Southeast Asia often touch on production technologies in broad, cursory ways that conform to predetermined ideas about their deployment, their function, and their impact. However, there are ample historical indications of local engagements that contradict the characterisation of the print revolution as a uniform global phenomenon – or indeed as a revolution at all. Have narratives of influence and impact obscured the many personal and material engagements that constitute the social history of print and technology in Asian contexts?

Moving away from sweeping histories of printing and publishing, this conference focuses on the more intimate scale of materials, processes, practices, as well as on labourers, tinkerers, entrepreneurs and other individuals in the history of print in South and Southeast Asia. The conference aims to explore material, practical, and technological involvement of individuals and social groups with objects, machinery, raw material, the movement, transportation, and dissemination of printing objects and printed matter, and indeed language, script, orthography – among many other facets of engagement.


Zeinab Azarbadegan (Columbia University)
‘Adornment of the lands’: entangled geographies of Persian lithographs in Bombay

Epsita Halder (Jadavpur University, Kolkata)
Bangla Qur’an in the marketplace: a paratextual reading of translation, distribution, and consumption of the sacred

Michal Hasson (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
Minority printing and the theatre in colonial India

Borna Izadpanah (University of Reading)
Simplified Urdu: Nasta’liq type for mechanical composition and the question of ownership

Wei Jin Darryl Lim (University of Reading)
Altering the script: evangelical networks of print and missionary exceptionalism in maritime Southeast Asia

Emily M.K. Müller (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
Hide and seek: how UV reflectance reveals secrets about Indian chromolithographs in The Met’s collection

Ritika Prasad (University of North Carolina)
Producing knowledge, organizing information: the colonial Native Newspaper Reports

Vaibhav Singh (University of Reading)
Legitimizing movable type in colonial Bombay: Javaji Dadaji’s typefoundry and the Nirnaya Sagar Press

Ad Stijnman (Independent scholar)
Nihon Dôbanga: the Japanese school of etching, 1783–1900

For full details…

The conference is free and open to all (no attendance fee). For more details visit https://www.contextualternate.com/conference01.