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Textual Studies Program History

The Textual Studies Program at the University of Washington is the oldest graduate program in North America devoted to the humanistic study of material texts. Established in 1995 as an interdisciplinary research group focused on “the theories and practices governing the production, publication, transmission, preservation, and editing of texts,” the program attracted the participation of scholars and professionals working in manuscript, print, and digital materials from ancient papyri to hypertext fiction. In 1997, the program implemented a graduate curriculum that balances theoretical approaches to texts and textual cultures with skills training in bibliography, codicology, paleography, and humanities computing. The program celebrated its formal launch with an international conference, “Voice, Text, and Hypertext at the Millennium,” which produced a book of the same name.

Since 1998, the Textual Studies Program has hosted an annual distinguished speaker series and colloquium, bringing leading textual scholars, book historians, print and manuscript specialists, and digital humanists to UW for critical discussion and engagement with students, faculty, and the community. In 2014, the program will introduce a 15-credit-hour graduate certificate in Textual and Digital Studies accessible to M.A. and Ph.D. students in any UW department, and will renew its commitment to public scholarship and professional training by inaugurating an annual graduate workshop on Alternative Academic Careers (#alt-ac).