Time and Venue: 11-13 September, 2024, Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy.

In 2024 the European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit) will convene its Twelfth International Conference in Urbino, Italy, to focus on the theme of PERIODICALS: S.T.E.A.M. AHEAD!

In periodicals, the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (“S.T.E.M.”) and the Arts are imbricated with one another (“S.T.E.A.M.”) in both material and theoretical terms. The history of journals and magazines runs parallel to the industrial and scientific revolutions. These revolutions have found a privileged place of diffusion in periodicals thanks to the timeliness of information, flexibility of content, easy diffusion and prompt response to the dialogues and controversies reflected within them. Technological progress has shaped the materiality of periodicals, including the type of paper, graphic design and technologies for the reproduction of both text and images.

One of the aims of the conference is to reflect on how periodicals popularized and transformed the new technologies, visual culture, and scientific discoveries within a context of permanent change in the models of cultural and social organization, with special attention given to the role that images and texts played in the diffusion of scientific ideas and the presentation of technological innovations. We also invite reflection on the role of periodicals in the development of disciplines: we are interested in how periodicals both establish and collapse borders between the humanities, arts, technologies, and the sciences. For example, we welcome contributions from a historical, modernist or decolonial perspective, as well as with a focus on recent challenges posed by the rise of digitization, open access publishing, and Artificial Intelligence.

We invite scholars from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives to reflect on how periodicals represent, create, maintain, or challenge, the notions of “techniques”, “sciences”, and “art” within the contexts of their localities, their communities of production, their readerships, and their editorial boards.

Proposals may focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Technological developments and reproduction techniques in periodicals – graphic design, typography and photomechanical printing of the press – and their impact on the dissemination of knowledge
  • The effect of dominant discourses on “science”, “technology”, and “progress” in relation to artistic contexts and literary debates in the periodical press
  • The role of the press in the transfer of cultural concepts into the domain of science and technology and vice versa
  • Scientific visual sources in art magazines and vice versa
  • The role of illustrated periodicals in spreading scientific knowledge
  • Periodical design and typography in different types of magazines (scientific, medical, artistic, cultural, political, etc.)
  • Scientific discoveries and the popular press
  • Science, technology, and serial fiction: utopias and dystopias
  • The representation of the machine in the press and its relationship with the artistic and cultural context
  • Periodical Studies and theoretical reflections on shifting conceptual paradigms (i.e. “organicist” vs “mechanist” worldviews)
  • The role of periodicals in canonizing and theorizing about concepts of “renewal”, “revolution”, and “tradition” in the light of technological and scientific revolutions
  • The role of periodicals in the technologization of modern life, as well as social and cultural processes (i.e. the rise of digitization, open access, and Artificial Intelligence).

The working language of the conference is English. Papers in languages other than English should be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation with salient information in English. We welcome proposals from researchers at all stages of their careers. Proposals of around 250 words (references not included) for 20-minute papers and a short CV (no more than 200 words) should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 29 February 2024.

We also encourage proposals for joint panels of three papers and proposals for 90-minute roundtables with up to 5 discussants that center on exchange and broader discussion. Please include a brief rationale for the panel along with an abstract and CV for each presenter. Updates can be found on the 12th ESPRit Conference website, forthcoming.

Scientific Committee:

Carlotta Castellani (Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo), Contact person
Oliver A. I. Botar (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)
Caterina Caputo (Università degli studi di Venezia "IUAV")
Gábor Dobó (Kassák Museum, Budapest)
Giovanna Perini Folesani (Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo)
Venanzio Raspa (Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo)
Salvatore Ritrovato (Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo)
Isabel Wünsche (Constructor University, Bremen)