CfP: Digital Material conference

18 Nov 2014

National University of Ireland, Galway; 21-22 May 2015

Plenary speakers: Jerome McGann & Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

Digital Material is a conference that considers the intersections of digital and material cultures in the humanities. How has the long history of studying material objects prepared us for understanding digital culture? To what degree does materiality inflect and inform our encounters with the digital?

Recent years have seen an intensification of interest in both digital and material cultures. This broad trend has been mirrored in the academy by the growing prominence of digital humanities and the renewed focus on materiality and material objects within humanities disciplines. At the same time, libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions are grappling with the theoretical and practical implications of preserving and exhibiting their material collections within increasingly digital infrastructures, while adapting to the challenges posed by born-digital materials.

The conference invites discussion of a series of related issues: does a reinvigorated interest in material culture represent a conservative reaction to the perceived threat of digital culture, or is it evidence of an embrace of the innovative affordances of the digital? How do digital media represent the materiality of texts and objects? Does the digital constitute its own form of materiality?

Proposals are invited on any aspect of the conference theme, including:

  • What is meant by ‘digital materiality’?
  • What is lost and gained when we study material objects through their digital surrogates?
  • Relationships between digital texts and material texts.
  • Creation, curation, and preservation of digitised and born-digital artefacts.
  • Digital archives and material archives.
  • What parts of our digital culture will future scholars unearth?
  • Do digital objects embody their culture in the way that material objects do?
  • Does memory inhere in the material better than in the digital?
  • The digital collector: can we be possessive about digital artefacts?
  • Object lessons: digital and material pedagogy.
  • Representations of the intersections of digital and material cultures.
  • Technology, equipment, storage, media; matter, substance, simulation, virtuality; cloth, fabric, pulp, bits, bytes.

Proposals may include:

  • 20-minute papers (abstract: 300-400 words).
  • Panels (individual paper abstracts plus 250-word overview).
  • Roundtables (abstract: 300-400 words plus names of speakers).
  • All participants should include a short biography (100-200 words) with their proposals.

Submit proposals at

before 31 January 2015. Successful proposals will be notified of acceptance by 21 February 2015.