The Social Life of InkTed Bishop to Give the Edmund Kemper Broadus Lectures on “The Social Life of Ink”

Please join us this March for what promises to be one of the most dynamic set of public lectures the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta has yet to offer.

On March 13, 15 and 16, Professor Ted Bishop will be delivering public lectures from his new project “The Social Life of Ink” – a research and travel endeavour that has taken him on a global search for ink’s hidden story. Join us as Ted Bishop takes us to Budapest and Buenos Aires to trace the origins of the ballpoint; to Nanjing and Anhui in China to explore the murderous intrigue surrounding ink designs; to Bokhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan where he discovers the blood-soaked pages of the Qur'an of Osman.

Professor Bishop writes: “Ink: the fluid that creates cultures, that unites civilizations, that decrees war or marriage. It’s everywhere, from your pen to your printer, so common that it’s invisible. But are we at the end of ink?”

Ted Bishop’s “The Social Life of Ink” lectures meditate on our present moment of change - from ink to the digital realm - by going back to the pivotal moment of invention in the development of ink. He’ll look at the inksticks of Ming dynasty China, the gall nut ink that wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and the world’s oldest Qur'an, as well as the ballpoint pen itself.

The talks combine literature, history, and travel. They’ll be media intensive - slides, sounds, and video clips. Among other participatory activities, audience members will see a pen-promoting bomber land in Edmonton, have an opportunity to grind an inkstick, and be invited to smash a gall nut.

Everyone is welcome to these talks, which are aimed at a general public. All talks take place at 3:30 pm in Lecture Theatre 1 of the Humanities Centre, University of Alberta. A reception in the Department of English and Film Studies foyer, Humanities Centre 3rd floor, follows the lecture on Friday.

“The Social Life of Ink”

Tuesday, March 13: "From Bomber Crews to the Bourne Identity, the Ballpoint Pen
                                           as an Instrument of War"
Thursday, March 15: "Power, Passion, and Smoke: Ming Dynasty Inksticks"
Friday, March 16: "Samarkand, Islam, and the Erotics of Ink"