Detail of document burning from the Trajanic Anaglyph

Detail of document burning from the Trajanic Anaglyph

Materia III @ ISAW

Friday, April 5, 2019


New Approaches to Material Text in the Ancient World

To register, please follow this link to ISAW’s Eventbrite page

The MATERIA Conference is a series of colloquia dedicated to presenting new research on books and other media in antiquity, bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines—history, literature, epigraphy, papyrology, archeology, manuscript studies, etc. The first two MATERIA meetings, held in 2016 at Columbia University and in 2017 at MIT, pursued a more traditional focus on the book and the literary in order to advance a broader understanding of the history of the book in the Roman world. With MATERIA III at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, we extend this discussion to consider approaches to material text in Greco-Roman antiquity and other ancient civilizations between 500 BCE and 500 CE in terms of, but also beyond, the category of “the book.” We will explore a variety of objects ancient readers and users would have encountered that looked like books, but weren’t, as well as practices related to reading and writing outside of books per se. Speakers will draw from evidence across the methodological spectrum of ancient studies and related fields to explore the wider world of literate activity, not by way of “literacy” or “the literary,” but by way of practice, technology, and ideology. The aim is to foster discussion between scholars who work on disparate aspects of ancient material text, reading, and writing, in different cultural traditions and who are interested in sharing their expertise with others who approach the topic from different perspectives.

Conference organized by Joseph Howley (Columbia University), Stephanie Frampton (MIT), and David M. Ratzan (ISAW Library)

This conference is co-sponsored by ISAW, Columbia University Faculty of Arts & Sciences Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Fund, and NYU Classics.

Image: Burning of tablets in Hadrianic debt relief, detail of the Anaglypha Traiani (Wikimedia Commons)

Please check for event updates.

To register, please follow this link to ISAW’s Eventbrite page


Unless otherwise indicated, public events sponsored by ISAW take place on the first or second floor of our building. Both floors are accessible by elevator from our entry lobby, and an ADA-compliant bathroom is available in the basement level, which is also accessible by elevator. Our Lecture Hall is equipped with an FM assistive listening transmitter. A small number of personal receivers, compatible with headphones and hearing aids, are available for checkout from staff on a first-come, first-served basis.