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Call for Proposals: Colophons in Middle Eastern Manuscripts Workshop (12-13 Jun, 2020 | Princeton)

January 15

Colophons in Middle Eastern Manuscripts Workshop

Venue Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (White Levy Room)

Date: June 12–13, 2020

Conveners: Sabine Schmidtke and George A. Kiraz (Institute for Advanced Study)

The colophon, the ultimate or “crowing touch” paragraphs of a manuscript, provides readers with a the historical context in which the scribe produced the manuscript. At its most fundamental level, the colophon gives us the “metadata” of the manuscript: who was the scribe? When and where was the manuscript produced? For whom was it produced and who paid for it?

But colophons are far more rich. They are literary works on their own right, having a style and rhetoric independent of the main literary text of the manuscript. In addition, colophons provide historical facts otherwise lost to histories: wars, earthquakes, religious events, etc.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars from various disciplines to study colophons in Middle Eastern manuscripts in various languages, including, but not limited to, Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian,* Hebrew, Persian, and Syriac. Topics may include:

  • The colophon as a literary genre.
  • Typology of colophons.
  • The formulaic structure of colophons.
  • Factoids found in colophons.
  • How can colophons or confirm help us reconstruct historical events?
  • Colophons born in print publications or born digital.

Scholars interested in participating may send via email a proposal between 750 and 1,000 words. Proposals are to focus on the colophon (i.e. not a study of the main literary text of the manuscript). Comparative analyses across traditions is encouraged but not required.

Submission deadline is January 15, 2020. Submissions are to be sent via email directly to George A. Kiraz at gkiraz@ias.edu.

Scholars are expected to fund their travel to/from and accommodation in Princeton. The Institute will provide meals and a conference celebratory dinner. Speakers will be invited to contribute to a collected volume on an agreed-upon theme.

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