Dr Julie Park

Visiting Research Fellow
Dr Julie Park

Visiting Research Fellow, July - August 2021

Home Institution: Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University

Julie Park is the author of The Self and It (Stanford University Press, 2010) and editor of several collections, including most recently Getting Perspective, a special issue for for Word and Image, forthcoming later in 2021, and Organic Supplements (University of Virginia Press, 2020). Her most recent monograph, My Dark Room (University of Chicago Press, 2022), takes the camera obscura as a conceptual model for understanding interiority through the designs and experiences of interior spaces in 17th- and 18th-century England. She is currently writing Writing’s Maker, a book on the materiality of life writing and self-inscription formats in the eighteenth century. Drawing on ideas for this project, she has recently organized a virtual exhibition, The Interactive Book, for NYU Libraries, where she is an assistant curator and faculty fellow in the Special Collections Center. 

Project Title: Writing’s Maker: Inscribing the Self in 18th-Century Britain

Writing’s Maker: Inscribing the Self in 18th-Century Britain examines the history of writing as a practice of documenting the self in mixed-media formats and broadens the conception of manuscript (“written by hand”) to encompass materials beyond pen, paper, and words. Under focus are four formats prevalent in eighteenth-century Britain: commonplace books, extra-illustrated books, pocket diaries, and penmanship copybooks. Their evidence shows that visual images, printed lines and text, and even the blades used for dismembering books to add pictures to them (extra-illustrate) all participate in the creativity that anthropologist Tim Ingold refers to as “the inscriptive work of the hand.” Forms traditionally treated as separate—such as print and handwriting, word and image—functioned as mutually constitutive writing media. In examining such media, this book project will demonstrate that daily information and archival management was practiced not just through diverse forms of writing, but also for literate subjects, as a consequence of being alive.