Sunday, January 6, 2013

UMD to Host Conference on 21st Century Publishing

Around 1980 I read an article that proclaimed the current emerging period of our history was akin to a second Renaissance being brought on chiefly by the widespread impact of modern communications. Little did this author know that the Internet was just around the corner, threatening power structures and re-arranging everything. The technology, however, was in place even if it had not yet ruptured through to the public domain.

The Internet has put the tools of influence and the power of publishing into the hands of anyone with access. The results are many and varied. Newsweek joined the ranks of leading publications that shuttered its printing presses in 2012. Several countries, including mighty Egypt, have been overthrown by social media. There has been increased awareness of social injustices such as the trafficking of women.

These developments are not all positive. Awareness of injustice can produce a gnawing awareness of one's powerlessness. As the ancient author of the book of Ecclesiastes scribed, "With much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge the more grief." Visit, for example, the Failed States index.

In 1450 the advent of mass production of printed media had a direct impact on the culture, ultimately resulting in the Protestant Reformation, the growth of universities, and numerous revolutions around the world. Publishing does have power.

This spring the University of Minnesota - Duluth is hosting a conference on publishing in the 21st century. The one day event is titled “21st-Century Publishing: Industry, Media, and the Future of Print," will take place on Friday, April 12 on the Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota.

The conference aims to bring together students, faculty and industry professionals from the region with numerous presentations and panel discussions including but not limited to:

1. Academic Publishing at a University Press or a Scholarly Journal
2. Financial Models in Today’s Publishing Environment
3. Internships and Other Training in Publishing
4. Lessons from the History of Publishing and Print Culture
5. Marketing and Retailing Books in the 21st Century: Publisher, Retailer, and Librarian Perspectives
6. Niche Publishing in 2012 and Beyond: Challenges and Opportunities
7. Nonprofit-Sector Publishing
8. Periodical Publishing in Diverse Environments
9. Production and Document Design Across Publishing Genres: Best Practices and Trends
10. Publishing Ethnically Diverse and Culturally Sensitive Materials
11. Publishing from the Author’s Perspective

This is a free conference supported by the following groups:
The Writing Studies Club
The Arts and Humanities Event Grants of the University of Minnesota System
The College of Liberal Arts Teaching Grant
The Department of English
The Department of Writing Studies
The Duluth, MN Chamber of Commerce

If you're a writer, publisher or someone with an interest in 21st century communications, the Call for Papers has now been posted. 

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