Writing the World

Writing the World lead image

Writing the World, 18th Annual Marco Manuscript Workshop, University of Tennessee Knoxville, February 3–4, 2023

The eighteenth annual Marco Manuscript Workshop will take place Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4, 2023, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The workshop is organized by Professors Charles Sanft (History) and Roy M. Liuzza (English) and is hosted by the Marco Institute for Medieval & Renaissance Studies.

This year’s theme is, broadly, manuscripts in and of the world. We imagine two aspects to this theme. The first is manuscripts that travel: manuscripts always bear the marks of the time and place of their creation, and many remain rooted to their place of origin, but others range widely in the world as cargo, gifts, devotional or collectible objects, or simply baggage that can be left behind. How do some texts get from one place to another, and why? What evidence of their travels do they bear? The second aspect of our theme concerns texts that try to convey the world beyond their pages. How do they describe the world? How is it depicted? Where is the center? What lies at the margins? What ideas and doctrines exist in the broader world? Understandings about the size and shape of the world have changed considerably since the ancient world and vary greatly from one culture to another. How have texts adapted to new information and ideas? We invite participants to consider manuscripts that connect the reader to the world—descriptions, travelogues, maps, accounts of distant places, cosmologies, stories of other worlds—or that record or reflect encounters between people in different places. As always, we welcome presentations on any aspect of this topic, broadly imagined. We are especially interested in presentations that address these questions from a non-European perspective.

The workshop is open to scholars and students in any field who are engaged in or interested in textual editing, manuscript studies, or epigraphy. Individual 75-minute sessions will be devoted to each presentation and discussion; participants will be asked to introduce their text and its context, discuss their approach to working with their material, and exchange ideas and information with other participants. As in previous years, the workshop is intended to be more like a class than a conference; participants are encouraged to share new discoveries and unfinished work, to discuss both their successes and frustrations, to offer practical advice and theoretical insights, and to work together towards developing better professional skills for textual and codicological work. We particularly invite the presentation of works in progress, unusual problems, practical difficulties, and new or experimental models for studying or representing manuscript texts. Presenters will receive a $500 honorarium for their participation.