Starting in Fustat, Egypt, in the thirteenth century, travelling to fourteenth-century France, Iberia, and Istanbul, we will describe the diffuse, often precarious, trans-cultural and trans-national role of Jewish diasporic communities in the development of early printing outside of East Asia. This discussion will highlight the central importance of the Hebrew book in understanding early print’s global impact.
Alexandra Gillespie is a Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Principal of U of T Mississauga, where she is a professor of English, medieval studies, and global book history. Her research and teaching range widely: from the poetics of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to the history of text technologies, from scientific approaches to book history to literary theory and philosophy. On these topics she has published more than fifty articles and six co-edited volumes, plus a monograph, Print Culture and the Medieval Author. Her new monograph, Chaucer’s Book, is forthcoming, and her current research project, Hidden Stories, supported by the Mellon Foundation, brings together more than 130 collaborators from 60 institutions around the world to develop new interdisciplinary understandings of premodern books in their local and global contexts.