BSANZ conference logo and decorative image of book

BSANZ 2021 Conference: Communities, books and the power of words

Interested in studies about books, authors, publishing, readers and related topics? Registrations are now open for the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand (BSANZ) 2021 virtual conference.  

Hosted online from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland on 22-23 November, the conference will feature two keynote speakers and 24 presenters from Aotearoa, Australia and further afield exploring the theme of ‘Communities, books and the power of words.’

Keynote speakers

The first keynote speaker, Dr Hirini Kaa (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongowhakaata), historian and Anglican minister, will consider how iwi engaged with Christian sacred texts through their own mātauranga, or worldview, and understood and used them through lenses such as whakapapa, whanaungatanga and tikanga. The second keynote speaker, Dr Sarah Werner, a Washington DC-based book historian and digital scholar, will look at how feminist theories and praxis can help our understanding of bibliographic work, and offer a sketch of what feminist bibliography might be and why it matters.


The wide-ranging papers reflect on the intersections and dynamics between communities, books and power, including instances of resistance, activism, inspiration and suppression. They include examinations of Ptolemy’s Geographia, Pacific biliteracy and bilingual material, RAK Mason’s poetry, a 17th century English publisher of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes, a pioneering female Indian publisher, and a study of LGBTIQA+ readers of lesbian literature. Formats under scrutiny include texts inscribed on Ancient Egyptian tomb walls, Renaissance scrolls and codices, and magazines.

Other activities include an online tour of the `Love and Loss’ exhibition at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum and a Q&A with the curator, Nina Finigan. Conference-goers will also be able to meet, interact, share content and take part in some hands-on activities through the virtual platform.

Register now

This year’s BSANZ conference has been organised by University staff from Special Collections and English and Drama, and Auckland Libraries. BSANZ was founded in 1969; it promotes research in textual and physical bibliography and the history of the book, including the history of printing, publishing, bookselling, typefounding, papermaking, bookbinding, palaeography and codicology.

The registration fee is $NZ25 for waged, and free for students and unwaged.


Featured image: Detail from: Wroth, M. (1621). The Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania. London: Printed for Ioh Marriott and Iohn Grismand. Special Collections Glass Case 821.39 W95Gu.