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Researching the history of printing in Iran: particularities and challenges

Dr Borna Izadpanah, Department of Typography, University of Reading

This event organised by the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing (CBCP) is free and open to all. This research seminar will be a hybrid event, taking place on the University of Reading campus, Typography Department, Room A6, and online.

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This seminar introduces some of the particularities and challenges that Borna’s recently completed PhD research faced in developing the chapter that deals with the introduction of Arabic-script printing to nineteenth-century Iran. One of the significant aspects of Arabic-script metal types produced in Iran is their extremely minimal use. This is also true of the number of surviving copies of the early Persian publications in Iran which were printed with those types. For example, the first Qurʾān printed with both typography (1827) and lithography (1834) are limited to two identified copies. Additionally, the condition of extant copies of books printed in Iran during this period are often extremely poor and, in many cases, incomplete.

This presentation demonstrates Borna’s experience of investigating the early Persian publications in Iran, which shows that many of these publications have yet to be identified. As will be shown, the discovery of previously unknown publications in libraries or private collections – which is not an infrequent occurrence – often overturns the received history of printing in Iran.

Borna Izadpanah is a typeface designer and researcher based in London. He holds a PhD in Typography & Graphic Communication from the University of Reading, where he also graduated with an MA in Typeface Design. His doctoral research explored the history of the early typographic representation of the Persian language. Borna has received numerous prestigious awards for his research and typeface design including the Grand Prize and the First Prize in Arabic Text Typeface in Granshan Type Design Competition, TDC Certificate of Typographic Excellence, and the Symposia Iranica Prize for the best paper in Art History.

This research seminar will be a hybrid event, taking place online and on the University of Reading campus, Room A6, Typography Department http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/maps/whiteknights-campus-map.pdf (Building number 21 on this map).

For details of further CBCP events, please see the events schedule.


24 February 2022
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing


Hybid event