Call for Papers – (Online) Marco Manuscript Workshop 2021

Marco Manuscript Workshop 2021:
“Immaterial Culture”
February 5-6, 2021

The sixteenth annual Marco Manuscript Workshop will take place Friday, February 5, and Saturday, February 6, 2021. Sessions will meet virtually via an online platform. The workshop is led by Professors Maura K. Lafferty (Classics) and Roy M. Liuzza (English), and is hosted by the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

This year’s workshop will consider some of the recent challenges that researchers have faced with the suspension of travel, the closing of libraries and universities, and the quarantine restrictions that have kept so many of us in our homes. How can our field, which has always emphasized the importance of physical place and tactile artifacts, work successfully in isolation and at a distance? What does it mean for us when our work takes place in an incorporeal world of light and numbers rather than ink and flesh, in matrices of data rather than dusty rooms? We propose to explore the advantages and disadvantages of this “immaterial culture,” and to think about how our work is shaped by access or lack of access to manuscripts, texts, catalogues, and objects. We would like to hear about experiences working remotely, discoveries made using virtual archives or catalogues, or advice on how to study manuscripts without visiting archives or how to teach codicology without a library. We welcome stories of scholars who have been productive in constrained circumstances. We would also like to learn from the experience of those for whom archives have been inaccessible for other reasons – scholars who are homebound, visually impaired, or otherwise physically challenged, or those whose access to libraries and collections has been restricted or denied. How have these constraints shaped your work? What can these experiences tell us about our discipline? We welcome presentations on any aspect of this topic, broadly imagined.

The workshop is open to scholars and graduate students in any field who are engaged in textual editing, manuscript studies, or epigraphy. This year’s workshop will be virtual, but we hope to retain as much of the format and the flavor of our in-person meetings as possible. Individual 75-minute sessions will be devoted to each project; participants will be asked to introduce their text and its context, discuss their approach to working with their material, and exchange ideas and information with other participants. We will prepare an online repository where presenters can place abstracts, presentations, or supporting material for access by all attendees. As in previous years, the workshop is intended to be more like a class than a conference; participants are encouraged to share new discoveries and unfinished work, to discuss both their successes and frustrations, to offer practical advice and theoretical insights, and to work together towards developing better professional skills for textual and codicological work. We particularly invite the presentation of works in progress, unusual problems, practical difficulties, and new or experimental models for studying or representing manuscript texts.

The deadline for applications is October 9, 2020. Applicants are asked to submit a current CV and a two-page abstract of their project to Roy M. Liuzza, preferably via email to

Presenters will receive a $500 honorarium for their participation.
The workshop is also open at no cost to scholars and students who do not wish to present their own work but are interested in sharing a lively weekend of discussion and ideas about manuscript studies. In order to keep the virtual sessions manageable, preregistration will be required and spaces will be limited. Further details will be available later in the year; please contact the Marco Institute at for more information.

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