Calls for Papers/Aug 23, 2022

Premodern Parchment

Premodern Parchment lead image

Premodern Parchment, session at the 2023 International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 3–6, 2023

Parchment is a familiar medium to medievalists. Animal skin, specially prepared, and employed primarily as a substrate for written communication, it is a substance that many researchers across fields of study regularly scrutinise and handle. There is now no shortage of scholarship that refers to parchment’s experiential qualities—its varied textures, smell, even sound—and its symbolic, especially Christological, significance as skin when bound in books. We seek proposals for papers that build on and move beyond this work, focusing on aspects of the medium that have been somewhat taken for granted including its (quasi) two-dimensionality, sidedness, relative opacity, colour and pliability; and/or delving into the uses of parchment outside the codical context. Our aim is to better understand the perceived possibilities and limitations of parchment in the premodern world and the qualities for which it was valued. 

Session organizers
Caroline Danforth, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Megan McNamee, University of Edinburgh