Summer course: "Thinking with Islamicate Manuscripts," directed by Tijana Krstić (CEU) and Bruno De Nicola (Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences)

December 16, 2022

Thinking with Islamicate Manuscripts: Critical Approaches to Historical Methodology, History of Collections, and Digital Tools In Islamic Studies

Course dates: July 3–7, 2023
Venue: Vienna
Application deadline: February 24, 2023

Scholarships are available!

How is thinking and working with a manuscript different from working with an edited text? What challenges arise from a codex containing multiple texts with different dates and authors? How does 'archival turn' and social history of the collections inform how we approach manuscripts contained in them? How can digital tools be helpful in editing a text that differs from manuscript to manuscript? These are just some of the important methodological questions that students hoping to work with Islamic manuscripts face when embarking on research or while in the field, often without any recourse to practical guidance.

The proposed course will explore these and other questions by focusing specifically on how to think and work with Islamicate manuscripts, with an emphasis on the sources in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian from Central Asia and the Middle East (c. 1200-c. 1700). It will address cutting-edge methodological issues in the cross-section of Islamic and manuscripts studies, 'archival turn' in the histories of Eurasia, and digital humanities to offer a unique hands-on training experience for graduate students embarking on or already in the midst of fieldwork, researchers, as well as archival professionals. It aims to equip participants with methodological and conceptual insights (through readings, lectures, and discussions) as well as practical experience (through workshop sessions) in thinking and working with manuscripts, and also to provide feedback on participants' projects by leading experts in the field (in seminars devoted to project presentations).

In the first part of the course, participants will explore methodologies and tools for critical manuscript research, including the difference between ‘text’ and ‘manuscript,’ the relationship between the text and paratext, the importance of genre and codicological features of a manuscript, etc. In the second part, the course would explore manuscripts in context, examining their existence in particular collections and absence in others; evidence of mobility; the identity of the scribes and possessors can tell us about their social history as well as the history of the collections. Finally, in the third part, we will explore questions of digital humanities and cultural heritage and their implications for the future of Islamicate manuscript studies. 

For further information, see: