Wai-te-Ata Press

D.F. McKenzie Lecture

Date: 22 March 2012 Time: 5.30 pm
Venue: Hunter Council Chamber

Leslie Howsam  

Professor Leslie Howsam, University of Windsor, CANADA delivers the 2012 McKenzie Lecture entitled:

New Zealanders of the Mind:
Using McKenzie’s Methods to Study Macaulay’s Readers

D. F. McKenzie has inspired a generation of book historians in various disciplines with his capacious concept of a “sociology of texts.” Drawing on his own experience of the Wai-te-ata Press and research in archives, McKenzie identified as “printers of the mind” some 18th century workers who did not exist outside the imagination of scholars who inferred their existence from limited evidence. He documented their labour processes as printers working in a social network with other book people. Leslie Howsam applies these ideas to the study of history, and in particular to the question of how readers received Thomas Babington Macaulay’s History of England and other contemporary works in an age of empire. One sort of imagined New Zealander could be inferred from references in school histories to “wild” and “savage” people; another was produced by Macaulay’s own evocation of a visitor from the distant colonial future, who would be to modern Britain what a Victorian was to ancient Rome.