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

Recent News

CDHI Launches Indigenous Digital Practice Initiative for 2023-24 

CDHI is pleased to announce that we are launching the Indigenous Digital Practice initiative, with the goal of building strengths in Indigenous Digital Practice among university and community-based Indigenous researchers.

Dr. Jennifer Wemigwans is leading this initiative and has commenced her position as Director of Indigenous Digital Practice.

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Digital Storytelling Workshop, 24-26 November 2023

The Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI), a tri-campus research initiative funded by the University of Toronto’s Institutional Strategic Initiatives (ISI) program, is pleased to announce a 2.5 day in-person digital research storytelling workshop from Friday Nov 24-Sunday Nov 26, 2023, at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus (location TBD, Friday afternoon) and the Collaborative Digital Research Centre (CDRS) at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus (Sat. and Sun.).   

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