01 Jan 2020 12:00 AM | Susan Viguers (Administrator)

In these first days of 2020, we ask for your help with a new project: the CBAA Diversified Reading List for the Book Arts. This effort is to recognize important contributions within the field of book arts that may have been previously overlooked. The goal is to make our field more inclusive through providing a wider range of frameworks and historical and contemporary examples, and to ensure that all students and artists have the opportunity to recognize their peers and predecessors in the field.

This crowdsourced list, sponsored by the CBAA Theory & Criticism Subcommittee, is intended to highlight marginalized and under-represented voices in the book arts and to be a resource, collected in one place, for educators, students, artists, and scholars. The idea, inspired by the Feminist Art & Architecture Collaborative’s Space/Race Reading list, is that this reading list will be created by crowdsourcing knowledge from the CBAA membership and the book arts community.

This means you, dear reader. We need your knowledge represented on this sheet!

We are aware that this list is puny and wholly insufficient at the moment. We realize that it will always be inadequate and incomplete. We recognize that your contributions will only improve it. In addition to adding books, articles, websites, etc., please also consider adding or editing keywords and annotations to works you are familiar with to help users locate the resources that will be most helpful to their practice or their classrooms. Our hope is that the list may quickly grow unwieldly. We imagine that once it has more entries, this list may be reorganized and reformatted in order to make it more user-friendly. In the meantime, we hope you agree that “there’s just too much, it is too confusing” would be a good problem to have.

What sorts of contributions are we looking for? Books, articles, websites, videos, chapters, any media resources that both 1) feature the contributions of folks from marginalized groups and 2) address one or more areas of the book arts (printing, binding, typography, the book, printmaking, papermaking, photo books, etc.; you know as well as we do the enormity our field comprises). Primary and secondary sources are both welcome, and eventually may be separated into different categories or separate sheets for ease of use. When in doubt, please go ahead and add the resource. Someone may be looking for that very thing.

There is a second sheet, Diversified Reading Lists in Allied Fields, compiling similarly crowdsourced reading lists from other art and design fields. To get there from the Reading List, look for the second tab at the bottom of the page. We welcome your contributions to this list as well.

Feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of work ahead of us? Please share this list with your colleagues, students, and friends. May we suggest getting together with your local book arts community and hosting an editing party, akin to an Art+Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon, during which participants update Wikipedia to represent the work of female and nonbinary artists? Suddenly this work could become more interactive and social.

The CBAA Diversified Reading List initiative grew out of the CBAA Board Retreat at the 2019 Annual Meeting at Tucson, and includes the input of H.R. Buechler, Aaron Cohick, Carley Gomez, Emily Larned, April Sheridan, Levi Sherman, Dianna Taylor, and Kathy Walkup. Please email with any suggestions and, also, if you are interested in joining the team as we continue to develop and improve this new project. Especially welcome would be a librarian or archivist or someone with similar experience who can suggest how to better organize this list as it grows.

We hope you will bookmark this list and return to it often, as both a contributor and a reader. Thank you, in advance, for your help with this important work.

"As a reaction to systemic racism and other forms of discrimination and exclusion in the United States, and the violence they have incited, communities of humanities scholars have been producing crowdsourced, collectively built syllabi and reading lists. These documents use knowledge as a form of action by producing collective scholarship . . .  Importantly, these documents can be both written and read by broader publics, unsettling traditional teacher-student hierarchies . . . Digitally created and disseminated syllabi and reading groups have become important responses to the violence waged against vulnerable populations because of their race, class, or gender, but also to the privatization of knowledge sharing." 

-- Ana María León, Feminist Art & Architecture Collaborative (FAAC)

Emily Larned initiated this project while serving as Co-Chair of the CBAA Publications Committee from January 2018 - 2020. She is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Connecticut.

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