The Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography
The Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography (SoFCB) is a community of scholars working to advance the study of texts, images, and artifacts as material objects. Fellows work across many disciplines, study a wide range of time periods and geographies, and occupy diverse roles and career stages within the academy. Scholars join the SoFCB through the Junior Fellows Program; after completing the program in good standing, they have the option of becoming Senior Fellows in the Society.
The SoFCB is a program of Rare Book School; Fellows work in collaboration with RBS staff to forward our shared goal of promoting inclusivity and diversity in the field of bibliography. RBS courses are central to our Fellows’ intellectual growth. The SoFCB also sponsors symposia, lectures, classes, and field schools at our Fellows’ home institutions, and at libraries and museums around the world.
For Fellows seeking information about the 2024 SoFCB annual meeting, click here.
Please read the Society’s statement on the nationwide unrest of May and June 2020.
What is critical bibliography?
Critical bibliography is an emerging field, in recent years largely shaped by the scholarship and teaching of the SoFCB’s members and the scholarly communities from which we are drawn and to which we contribute. Critical bibliography seeks to bring the most salient elements of the bibliographical tradition—a close attention to the book as a material-cultural artifact; hands-on engagement with technologies and processes of textual production; and an awareness of circuits of textual transmission—into much-needed dialogue with the critical and theoretical insights of twenty-first century humanities scholarship.
Critical bibliography is broadly interdisciplinary, drawing on scholarship from art history, anthropology, archaeology, classics, digital humanities, literary studies, library science, history of the book, history of science, and museum studies to find points of intellectual intersection among diverse investigations into material culture. Critical bibliography seeks to intervene in two directions: challenging scholars in humanities fields toward a more serious, sustained consideration of media and materiality, while challenging scholars of bibliography to engage with the critical concerns most vital to the humanities in the twenty-first century. Critical bibliography seeks to expand and transform the purview of bibliography to promote public-minded, civically-engaged scholarship.
What does the Society do?
We endeavor to foster capacious, interdisciplinary scholarship; integrate methods of critical bibliography into our teaching and research; foster collegial conversations about historical and emerging media across disciplines and institutions; and share our knowledge with broader publics. We are committed to creating a more accessible, inclusive, and diverse environment for the study of the material text.
In practice, this means we organize symposia and conference sessions; meet annually as a Society to induct new fellows and plan new initiatives; collaborate on a wide range of scholarly activities in and across our home disciplines, including exhibitions, conferences, and publication projects; and support one another in our research and teaching. We bring together scholars who study material texts in cultural contexts around the globe, crossing geographical and disciplinary boundaries.
The SoFCB also sponsors an annual Essay Prize to recognize and reward published work that advances the mission of the Society.
Who are the members of the Society?
Current Junior and Senior Fellows are librarians, archivists, curators, doctoral students, independent scholars, and faculty members who hold tenure-track, teaching, or postdoctoral research positions. SoFCB Council and committee members for the 2023–24 term are as follows:
Council of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography
- President: Elizaveta Strakhov (Associate Professor, Department of English, Marquette University)
- Vice President: Devin Fitzgerald (Curator of Rare Books and History of Printing, University of California, Los Angeles)
- Immediate Past President: John Garcia (Director of Scholarly Programs and Partnerships, American Antiquarian Society)
- Secretary: Jane Raisch (Lecturer, Department of English and Related Literatures, University of York)
- Diversity & Outreach Committee Chair: Elizabeth Eager (Assistant Professor, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University)
- Program Committee Chair: Megan Robb (Julie and Martin Franklin Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania)
- Selection Committee Chair: Zachary Hines (Assistant Professor, Department of English, The Ohio State University)
- Communications Committee Chair (ex officio): Jane Raisch (Lecturer, Department of English and Related Literatures, University of York)
- Essay Prize Chair (ex officio): Devin Fitzgerald (Curator of Rare Books and History of Printing, University of California, Los Angeles)
SoFCB Diversity & Outreach Committee
- Chair: Elizabeth Eager (Assistant Professor, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University)
- Stephanie Delamaire (Curator of European and American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art)
- Eilin Pérez (Postdoctoral Associate, History, Yale University)
- Pranav Prakash (Junior Research Fellow, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Oxford University)
- Xiaoyu Xia (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of California, Berkeley)
SoFCB Programs Committee
- Chair: Megan Robb (Julie and Martin Franklin Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania)
- Holly Borham (Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin)
- Murad Mumtaz (Assistant Professor, Art History and Studio Art, Williams College)
- Damian Fleming (Professor, Department of English and Linguistics, Purdue University Fort Wayne)
SoFCB Selection Committee
- Chair: Zachary Hines (Assistant Professor, Department of English, The Ohio State University)
- Elizabeth Eager (Assistant Professor, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University)
- Georgia Henley (Assistant Professor, Department of English, Saint Anselm College)
- Kailani Polzak (Assistant Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz)
- Daniel Radus (Associate Professor, English Department, SUNY Cortland)
SoFCB Nominating Committee
- Chair (ex officio): John Garcia (Director of Scholarly Programs and Partnerships, American Antiquarian Society)
- Kappy Mintie (Senior Researcher, Lens Media Lab, Yale University)
- Steffi Dippold (Assistant Professor, Department of English, Kansas State University)
SoFCB Communications Committee
- Chair (ex officio): Jane Raisch (Lecturer, Department of English, University of York)
- Marissa Nicosia (Associate Professor of Renaissance Literature, Department of English, PennState Abington)
- James Hodges (Assistant Professor, School of Information, San Jose State University)
- Murad Mumtaz (Assistant Professor, Art History and Studio Art, Williams College)
SoFCB Essay Prize Committee
- Chair: Devin Fitzgerald (Curator of Rare Books and History of Printing, University of California, Los Angeles)
*Committee currently unfilled
How can I get in touch with current Fellows?
If you would like to send a message (such as an announcement of a job opening, or a fellowship opportunity) to the current members of the Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography, please address your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. NB: requests for message distribution will be reviewed by the Society’s mailing list moderators, and messages may be forwarded to individual Fellows instead of being distributed via the complete mailing list if they seem more appropriate for a limited audience.
How do I become a Fellow?
Scholars join the SoFCB through the Junior Fellows Program; after completing the program in good standing, they have the option of becoming Senior Fellows in the Society. The Society’s Council may appoint a limited number of honorary Fellows whose work advances the intellectual, pedagogical, and service aims of our community but who are ineligible for the Junior Fellows Program.
How did the Society come to be?
Rare Book School received three major grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund an innovative fellowship program at RBS, the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography. The aim of the fellowship program was to reinvigorate bibliographical studies within the humanities by introducing doctoral candidates, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty to specialized skills, methods, and professional networks for conducting advanced research with material texts. The program admitted its final cohort of fellows in 2015. The Society of Fellows developed out of a desire to maintain and expand the community of scholars brought together by this fellowship, and it admitted its first cohort of Junior Fellows in 2018.
Who makes this program possible?
The SoFCB is currently supported by a $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, awarded to Rare Book School in July 2017. We are grateful for their continued trust, and are actively seeking funds to sustain the Society beyond 2025, such as the new Nancy Norton Tomasko Fellowship. We also very much appreciate the private donors and foundations who have helped support our fellows’ ongoing activities. The Fellows are also grateful for the support of RBS Executive Director Michael F. Suarez, S.J., RBS Associate Director and Curator of Collections Barbara Heritage, and the Administrative Director of the SoFCB, without whose vision, creativity, and hard work the SoFCB would not exist.