Oxford Workshop for Manuscript and Text Cultures

The Workshop for Manuscript and Text Cultures at Queen’s (WMTC) is an interdisciplinary research platform that brings together specialists and students working on manuscript and text cultures of the ancient Near East, the Mediterranean (Greece and Rome), ancient East and South Asia, and medieval Europe.

‘Manuscript and Text Cultures’ describes a phenomenon that begins when handwritten manuscripts start to circulate more widely and knowledge transmission becomes increasingly text centred and no longer a predominantly oral exercise. The focus of the Workshop lies on examining material aspects of writing and text production, including inscriptions, as well as transmission and the interface between the oral and the written, across pre-modern literate societies.

When, how, and what?

The Workshop is a unique platform where international specialists and research students engage in close dialogue across their areas of expertise and inform each other about approaches and theories. The Workshop normally convenes once per term at the Magrath Room of The Queen’s College on Wednesday of 6th week at 17.00 and takes the format of a one-hour presentation, followed by one hour of discussion.

New additions to the workshop include two termly lunchtime colloquia. On Tuesday of 2nd week, two scholars will present their work-in-progress (12:30-2pm) on Tuesday of 4th week, two doctoral students will present their work (1-2pm). These colloquia will be part of the workshop’s regular schedule from Trinity Term 2017.

The language of the Workshop is English. Contributions will be at once specialised and interdisciplinary in perspective. The goal is to generate wider discussions that cross subject boundaries by focusing on methodological issues. The Workshop therefore examines shared and culture-specific elements in the development of manuscript cultures in pre-modern societies. As such, the Workshop will showcase the study of literate societies in interdisciplinary form.

Directly related to the interdisciplinary interests of the Workshop include the enquiry into literacy and reading practices, relations between authors, scribes, scripteurs, and readers, as well as researching media production technology. The Workshop serves a key role in connecting such questions to enable the informed debate across subject boundaries for interdisciplinary and intercultural enquiry.

Photo from WMTC page at the Queen’s College

Who are we?

The Workshop began as an initiative of fellows at Queen’s, where it still meets. It provides the nucleus of a research cluster for the Humanities in the College with a focus on knowledge production and text circulation which we hope will attract future graduate students. The Board of the interdisciplinary Workshop consists of the following members: Dirk Meyer (Chinese); Angus Bowie (Classics); John Baines
 (Egyptology); Charles Crowther (Ancient history, epigraphy); Henrike Lähnemann, St Edmund Hall (Medieval languages and cultures); Mary Boyle, Oriel College (Medieval & Modern Languages); Yegor Grebnev, Wolfson College (Chinese); Selena Wisnom (TORCH); and Christopher Metcalf (Classics). Please email us if you wish to receive further information or if you would like to suggest a speaker for the events.

Follow the WMTC on Twitter here.

Photo from WMTC page at the Queen’s College

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