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Manuscript Cultures

The University of Tennessee gathers a considerable body of scholars who work with manuscripts in their research. These manuscripts come from many chronological periods and geographical areas, from antiquity to the eighteenth century, from Sinai to Yunnan, and record languages from Arabic to Old English. The Manuscript Cultures seminar is a regular, informal meeting of faculty, graduate students, and guests for presentations and conversation about our ongoing work with manuscripts. Its themes span pragmatic issues of accessing and interpreting handwritten materials; abstract concepts like writing's relationship to power; and questions that pass through and beyond both of these, such as practices of writing, speaking, listening, and reading in the production and dissemination of knowledge. We discuss multilingual manuscripts, excavated materials, religious writings, and the working texts of literary creation. An interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students make up the seminar, representing Classics, English, History, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Religious Studies.

Meetings will be held in the Humanities Center Seminar Room, E102 Melrose Hall (first floor), 3:30 to 4:30 PM, unless otherwise indicated.

  • 7 September 2016
    Charles Sanft – “Disentangling Reading and Writing: Scribal Literacy vs. a Literate Community”
  • 28 September 2016
    Julie Reed – “Rocks, Paper, Removal: Preliminary Thoughts on Cherokee Manuscripts within Caves in the Southeastern United States”
  • 29 October 2016
    Manuscript Cultures Minicon
  • 16 November 2016
    Manuela Ceballos – “Reconstructing the Legacy of the Saints: Challenges in Reading Moroccan Sufi Hagiographical Manuscripts.”
  • 18 January 2017
    Megan Bryson – “Becoming a Humane King: The Compass for Protecting the Country Subcommentary Manuscript”
  • 6 February 2017
    Robin D.S. Yates (McGill University) – “Terror or Pleasure? Living and Working under the First Emperor of China”
    3:30 P.M.
    Lindsay Young Auditorium – Hodges Library
  • 2 March 2017
    William Noel (University of Pennsylvania)
  • 5 April 2017
    Alison Vacca - “Written in Stone: Expressions of Power in Late Antique and Medieval Iran"
    3:00-4:00 PM
  • 26 April 2017
    Devin Stewart (Emory University) – "The Catalogue of Ibn al-Nadim:  Knowledge and the World Viewed from Tenth-Century Baghdad"
  • Wednesday, 26 August 2015
    3:30 p.m.
    Humanities Center Seminar Room F203 Melrose Hall (second floor)
    Alison Vacca
    "A Mediterranean Polemic"
  • Monday, 14 September 2015
    3:30 p.m.
    Sabine Schmidtke (Institute for Advanced Study)
    "An Anonymous Jewish Refutation of Samawʾal al-Maghribī's (d. 1175) Ifḥām al-yahūd."
  • Wednesday, 21 October 2015
    3:30 p.m.
    Chad Black
    "Usual Suspects: Content and Form in the 18th Century Visita de Cárcel"
  • Wednesday, 18 November 2015
    3:30 p.m.
    Tom Burman
    "Obsessive Hebraism and Concealed Philo-Arabism:  the Multi-lingual Manuscripts of Ramon Marti's Pugio fidei / Dagger of Faith (c. 1278)"
  • Thursday, 14 January 2016
    3:30 p.m.
    Lindsay Young Auditorium – Hodges Library
    Martin Kern (Princeton University)
    "The Origins of Chinese Poetry"
  • Wednesday, 27 January 2016
    3:30 p.m.
    Megan Bryson
    "Inviting the Gods in Sinitic and Sanskrit Script: A Multi-Language Manuscript from the Dali Kingdom (937-1253)"
  • Wednesday, 24 February 2016
    3:30 p.m.
    Hilary Havens
    "From Samuel Richardson to William Godwin: Revising the Eighteenth-Century Novel"
  • Wednesday, 23 March 2016
    3:30 p.m.
    JP Dessel
    "Šarrat Ekron: Worming Your Way out of the 7th c BCE"
  • Wednesday, 6 April 2016
    3:30 p.m.
    Charles Sanft
    "Practical Knowledge and Literate Community in the Han Border Regions"

  • Wednesday, 20 April 2016
    3:30 p.m.
    Roy Liuzza
    "A New Scrap of the Old English Gospels"

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