Project Profile:

The Book and the Silk Roads


Description: The Book and the Silk Roads project maps connections between parts of the premodern world by describing the technology of the book. We aim to challenge a too-familiar history, in which Gutenberg’s moveable type and our own era’s digital communication technologies are the natural outcomes of a triumphant Western tradition that began with Christian Rome’s invention of the codex. A more global approach to premodern book history transforms the story of human communications by revealing networks of human relationships—as well as technological and material entanglements—that knit together our premodern world.


  • Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President & Principal, University of Toronto Mississauga; Professor, Department of English and Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
  • Sian Meikle, Associate Chief Librarian for Digital Strategies and Technology, University of Toronto
  • Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Professor, Medieval Studies, Institute for Advanced Study
  • Jessica Lockhart, Head of Research, Old Books New Science Lab, University of Toronto
  • Rachel Di Cresce, Digital Project Librarian, University of Toronto Information Technology Services
  • Merium Khan, Old Books New Science Lab Manager, and Administrative Assistant for The Book and the Silk Roads Project, University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Shibo Liu, Software Engineer, University of Toronto
  • Imran Asghar, Software Engineer, University of Toronto
  • James Malinowski, Research Administrator, Old Books New Science Lab and Human Resources, The Book and the Silk Roads Project
  • J. D. Sargan, Postdoctoral Fellow

Funders: Mellon Foundation

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