The Future of the Page
Announcing The Future of the Page Conference
University of Saskatchewan, Humanities Research Unit, & Mendel Art Gallery
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, June 9 - 10, 2000

"The Future of the Page" conference gathered scholars, graduate students and members of the artistic community together to explore the role of the page in the development of human communication. We focussed on the history of page design from papyrus roll to manuscript codex to printed book to hypertext, examining how the page has been structured as a site for information display and how it has shaped notions of linearity, information transfer and information access.

The talks approached the page in terms of its materials (papyrus, parchment, paper, and digital information), its architecture (the underlying arrangement of information on a page or what medieval writers called its ordinatio) and its ideologies (the ways in which the arrangement of information shapes or reflects cultural systems). We considered how these aspects of the page have determined and displayed human thought, and what the consequences of digitization will be for a knowledge-based culture in the future. 

How does a printer of Renaissance legal texts fit enough information onto the page? How do contemporary visual artists appropriate page design as a form of political critique? When did writers become conscious of the page as a physical barrier shaping their work? Which will become obsolete first: the page or the internet? How did printed marginal commentary contribute to the revival of English history on the Elizabethan stage? What does it mean to see our bodies as a page—the textual maps of cellular structure potentially as copyrighted databases? How is the page used literally and metaphorically in 3-D digital images of the human body (in the Visible Human Project from the National Library of Medicine, for example). How does the digital environment reconceive the page and the page's future? Are we still structuring our pages according to the principles of scholastic ordinatio? These are some of the questions we will continue to address.

Keynote Speakers 

  • Alberto Manguel (A History of Reading, Into the Looking Glass Wood, God's Spies
  • Jerome McGann, University of Virginia (A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism, Black Riders, The Textual Condition, the Rossetti Archive) 
Other speakers included: Lynne Bell, University of Saskatchewan (Urban Fictions); David Carlson, University of Ottawa (English Humanist Books); John Dagenais, UCLA (The Ethics of Reading in Manuscript Culture); Edison Del Canto, APEX Graphics; Michael Groden, University of Western Ontario ("Ulysses" in Progress; editor of The James Joyce Archive); Michael Maranda, University of Rochester; Allison Muri, University of Saskatchewan; William Slights, University of Saskatchewan (Ben Jonson and the Art of Secrecy); Joseph Tabbi, University of Illinois at Chicago (The Postmodern Sublime).

For further information contact:

Peter Stoicheff or Andrew Taylor, Department of English, University of Saskatchewan at (306-966-5516) or (966-2782).

Also see our website on Architectures, Ideologies and Materials of the Page.

This conference is generously supported by:


Web page design by Allison Muri, Joel Deshaye, and Edison Del Canto (3D text art).
Updated May 25, 2000.
Expect frequent updates.