It’s been quite the year during which to debut my scholarly monograph The Word in the Wilderness: Popular Piety and the Manuscript Arts in Early Pennsylvania and share my research findings with the public—a year filled with bizarre highs and lows. One of the unexpected highlights of COVID times has been the opportunity to share my research and reflections via Cloister Talk: The Pennsylvania German Material Texts Podcast—knowing that, even during a time of increased physical isolation, I’ve been able to continue engaging in (virtual) conversations with you, about topics near and dear to my heart, including book history, material texts, manuscript culture, Pennsylvania Germans, and the Age of Evangelical Piety. It is in this spirit that I debut Season 3 of Cloister Talk, with a fascinating episode titled “Cloister Talk Live! The Faith That Binds: A Conversation on Anabaptist Bookbindings with Chela Metzger and Erin Hammeke.”
How can material artifacts be wielded as tools for unlocking the lived experiences of past spiritual-devotional cultures? In this inaugural episode of Cloister Talk Live!, join book conservators Chela Metzger (University of California Los Angeles Library) and Erin Hammeke (Duke University Library) for a conversation about Swiss-Anabaptist bookbindings in early Pennsylvania—and what the books reveal about past personal and social relationships with God. The interviewees also discuss the state of book history as an interdisciplinary enterprise and offer advice for what it might take to bring historians, material culture scholars, and conservators together, to make optimal use of interdisciplinary expertise in analyzing and interpreting material texts.
Listen to the episode here: