Vance Byrd is a specialist in German Studies whose research in Print Studies focuses on the history and theory of print culture since the eighteenth century. He is particularly interested ephemera, in the material form and format of literature in periodicals, word and image, fashion journals and prints, caricature, as well as the proliferation and circulation of print media.
Penn has an unusually rich synergy about visual media, particularly prints but also, by extension, cinema. Julie Davis studies Japanese prints of the past quarter-millennium, and Karen Redrobe's courses on film extend consideration of public media to the moving image, both animation and cinema.
Davis also actively engages with the lively Penn History of the Book community, which meets in a weekly interdisciplinary workshop at the Kislak Rare Book Center of the Penn Library. The Kislak Center, which also includes medieval manuscripts, is a very welcoming resource for students of all periods and regions. Moreover, Penn faculty have produced several print exhibitions in conjunction with the PMA, in addition to the Ross Gallery and Penn Library, most recently one curatorial seminar by Davis on modern Japanese landscape prints and another on Dreyfus-era media by André Dombrowski.
Shira Brisman specializes in the art and historiography of the early modern period, with a particular emphasis on print culture and its facilitation of the exchange of ideas, the creation of communities, and the development of pictorial languages that supplement or challenge the spoken and written word.
Michael Leja’s current work studies the expansion of print culture to a mass audience in the 19th century, when new print technologies collaborated and competed with older ones. He has published on lithographs and the penny press, mezzotint simulations of daguerreotypes, print connoisseurship in illustrated magazines, and photomechanical reproductions in mass market magazines.
Shannon Mattern’s research, teaching, curatorial work, and civic engagement projects frequently engage with the design, production, collection, distribution, reception, storage, and preservation of print media, focusing in particular on how print interacts with or translates into other media forms — from architecture to interactive media. Her work has extended from architectural inscriptions, design zines, and interactive public displays to poetry collections, secret document repositories, and fugitive libraries.
Additionally, Penn has very close connections to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, whose Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs hosts class visits and individual study. Penn graduate students of advanced standing have the opportunity for a funded one-year internship, the Zigrosser Fellowship, in the PMA Department. The PMA also hosted a traveling show by Silver on mural-sized prints of the sixteenth century.
Julie Nelson Davis