Back from a Hiatus

Far too many months have passed since we refreshed this site. During the hiatus, there’ve been many interesting developments; in the next few posts, we hope to fill in some of the lacunae and bring this site more up-to-date.

* First of all, the BASIRA team has grown: While Janet Seiz has taken leave to focus on her teaching career, Dr. Andrea Zietlow, book artist, has joined the Project; her German language skills, as well as her work as researcher and photographer, are welcome contributions. (She has made most of the recent additions to the BASIRA database.) Her background as a scientist brings rigor to the project; her artistry in crafting unique books lends a depth of physicality to our work on the BASIRA Project.

* Secondly, many months during 2016 and 2017 were spent on a detour into course development and teaching. Barbara developed and taught a continuing education course on book history at Duke University: “Exploring European Book Culture: The Changing Forms of the Book, from Ancient Greece to Gutenberg.” As implied by such a broad timespan, the topics could only be surveyed in a highly abbreviated way. Nevertheless, we explored the tensions surrounding such transformations as oral to written culture; scroll to codex; papyrus to parchment; paper; and (of course) from scribal manuscript to moveable type and printed books. Here is a link to the syllabus:

* We’ve also attended workshops, seminars, and symposia that have enlivened our understanding of digital humanities work, as well as of medieval and Renaissance book culture. Highlights include the 2017 Digital initiatives Symposium in San Diego and a workshop on metadata taught by Murtha Baca. At the University of South Carolina, Scott Gwara’s “Understanding Medieval Manuscripts” symposia hosted two days of extraordinary workshops with Ray Clemens (2016) and Michelle Brown (2017).

* In 2016, Barbara made her first trip to Germany, concentrating on a tour of sites connected to Reformation history. But an extra week in Berlin, and a day-trip to the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel yielded many images and insights for the BASIRA Project.

To wrap this post up, we’ve been busy over the last few years, in spite of a lapse in web posting. If you’re interested in the BASIRA Project, we hope you’ll tune back in. We welcome your comments and suggestions.


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