Lectures & Conferences
Buddhist monks relaxing and reading manuscripts. Wat Pathum Wanaram, Bangkok.Scribal portrait of 'Abd Allah Mishkin Qalam (known as Mir 'Abd Allah Katib), from a collection of poems (divan) written by Amir Najm al-Din Hasan Dihlavicv, 26 Muharram 1011.  Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, W.650, fol. 127a

4th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age

October 21-22, 2011

Writing the East: History and New Technologies in the Study of Asian Manuscript Traditions

In partnership with the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Penn Libraries are pleased to announce the 4th annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age. This year's symposium will explore a range of issues relating to Asian reading and writing cultures, especially as they pertain to the manuscript source. Our focus will be on Asian manuscripts from the Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian traditions. We will bring together scholars representing these traditions to examine the ways in which hand-produced texts shape both meaning and interpretation, and to a larger extent, the cultural norms that define their use.  We will also consider the role that modern digital technology can play to facilitate the study of manuscripts today.

Participants include:

Click here for program and abstracts.

Registration fee is $35 ($10 for students with valid student ID).  CLOSED.

Walk-in registrations will be accepted for a fee of $45 ($15 for students with valid student ID) to be paid in cash.

The 2011 symposium is made possible with the generous support of the Center for Ancient Studies and the Departments of History, History of Art, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, and South Asia Studies.


**Special Friday Workshop Opportunity**

Bringing Out the Best from Your Collections:  Ask the Experts!

Friday, October 21, 2-5 pm, Free Library of Philadelphia (Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA, Room 108)

Are you a Special Collections Librarian with a collection of Tibetan palm-leaf manuscripts in your library, or a shelf of handsome Japanese woodblock print books, or rare Chinese medical texts from the fifteenth century, or a lovely but enigmatic collection of cuttings from Arabic and Persian manuscripts, or any other collection of non-western material that leaves you mystified?  If so, we invite you to sign up for our Friday afternoon workshop and ask the experts for help!  

Throughout North American libraries, scores of collections of rare manuscripts produced in cultures outside the sphere of European influence remain hidden from the public eye.  Librarians and curators often know very little about how to care for, interpret, and provide access to these hidden treasures.   Language and cultural barriers as well as differences in materials and production techniques present unique curatorial challenges in terms of access, interpretation, and preservation.  This workshop aims to provide a forum in which librarians and curators can discuss the opportunities and challenges they face in caring for their non-western treasures, learn how to begin caring for and cataloging them, and what opportunities exist for collaboration and crowd-sourcing.  We also invite participants to present case studies from their collections to the experts for their opinion and feedback.  Bring your photographs, questions, and concerns, and get ready to learn about your hidden treasures!

Limited number of spaces available to conference attendees on a first come, first serve basis. CLOSED.


For further information, please contact Lynn Ransom at lransom@pobox.upenn.edu or (215) 898-7851

For more information on the Schoenberg Symposium Series, click here.