The Painted Page: Medieval Manuscripts Through a Comparative Lens
(chair: Dr. Ann Shafer, Providence College, Rhode Island)
This virtual session examines premodern illuminated books from the sacred traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam within a larger context of visual influences from other media across space and time. Often individually studied in a vacuum with very specific aims, these books have nevertheless belonged to fluid and far-reaching communities of makers and readers whose physical and spiritual needs have varied over time and space. This session asks simple comparative questions. For example, how old is the practice of illuminating text, and what can ancient stone carvings – from Guatemala to Assyria – tell us about the role of imagery in the Medieval book? What do ink makers in Japan have to teach us about the devotional aspect of European scribal practices through time? How can contemporary artists in the Middle East show us subtle social and political relationships between the texts and the communities that produced them? Possible research questions in this space of free inquiry are endless and might dovetail with issues of materials and techniques of production, communal practices of learning and exchange, and the ontological nature of the sacred word. With the aim of bringing together scholars from different fields, we hope to gain new perspectives on familiar texts and broaden the scope of manuscript studies.
Papers that compare across cultures are especially welcome.
To submit a 250-word CFP before the August 31st deadline: