CfP 1 for EModGraL conference is out!

Call for Papers: Reading visual devices in early books

Conference in Turku, Finland / 22–24 May 2025

Visual or graphic devices, such as images, diagrams, charts and tables, often operate between visual and verbal modes to convey information. In books and documents these devices may be used, for example, to illustrate and expand upon the text, to support or distract from the message conveyed by the text, or to aid in the comprehension of complex concepts which would be difficult to express through words alone. Although graphic devices may also communicate through textual elements, their main communicative tools are structure, symbolism, and cultural imagery.

The Early Modern Graphic Literacies project organises an international conference on the study of visual and graphic devices in early books, documents and textual objects in Turku, Finland, 22–24 May 2025.

Keynote speakers:

  • Prof. Andrew M. Riggsby (University of Texas)
  • Prof. Wendy Scase (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr Carla Suhr (University of Helsinki)

We invite contributions from book studies, philology and historical linguistics, textual scholarship, literary studies, history of science, art history, and other related fields, including interdisciplinary approaches. Our main focus is on the medieval and early modern periods.

We are interested in questions such as: How were graphic devices used, framed, and understood? How were innovations and conventions of data visualization transmitted across texts and languages? How did graphic devices spread diachronically or geographically in different parts of the world?

Relevant topics and themes include:

  • Visual and graphic devices (e.g. images, tables, and diagrams) and their design and use (as part of text/supplementing text)
  • Emerging practices and changing conventions: aesthetics, design, technologies
  • Paratext and metatext: linguistic framing and presentation of graphic devices
  • Visualising knowledge and information
  • Different audiences, readers, and literacies: lay/professional, learned/vernacular
  • Use of graphic devices in various domains and genres: instructional and technical writing, literature, scientific writing, popular texts, religion
  • Medieval and early modern manuscripts and printed books, including various physical formats (also broadsheets, pamphlets, scrolls, letters and other documents), also early books from non-European regions and languages
  • Theoretical and methodological approaches to visual devices: opportunities and challenges (including digital humanities approaches)

Please send an abstract of c. 300 words to by October 15, 2024.

Please note that due to a scheduling clash, the conference takes place one week later than was previously announced.

For more information, please email us at

Best wishes,

Early Modern Graphic Literacies Project

Matti Peikola, Mari-Liisa Varila, Aino Liira & Sirkku Ruokkeinen

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Project news!

As an EModGraL post-doc, I have lately been working on research into the visual devices of English sixteenth-century military manuals. I am interested in the information transmission devices of these works, the arrival of different types of visual tools to the English print, and the availability of these visuals to the English readership. The material is very fruitful, and during the last few months, while working on an article on the topic, I have published a blog post and held several talks on the various side tracks the materials inspired.

The blog post, titled Renaissance diagrammatics and the English Tartaglia, was published in Ramus Virens, a medieval studies blog of University of Jyväskylä. In the blog, I explore the practices of reproduction of Tartaglia’s image-diagrams in the 1588 English translation, focusing especially on the copying of the diagrammatic sections of the diagram-images.

Speaking at the Humboldt Kolleg in Helsinki, May 15, 2024.

In March, I spoke at the Humboldt Kolleg, an event intended for the dissemination of information across disciplines organized by Alexander-von-Humboldt-Club Finnland. The presentation, titled “Graphicacy and the Military Revolution in sixteenth-century England” discussed the influence – or the lack thereof – of the military revolution on the practices of military publishing in sixteenth-century England.

Text: Sirkku Ruokkeinen | Photo: Antti Ijäs

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