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Exploring the Social and Cultural Contexts of Historic Writing Systems

March 14, 2019 - March 16, 2019

University of Cambridge
United Kingdom

Call for Papers Deadline: October 1, 2018

“Writing systems are not just abstract systems to be deciphered and analysed but an important part of culture, integrated into a multiplicity of other facets of human life, practice and material culture. The study of writing systems is not just a question of epigraphy, palaeography or linguistics but a matter of cultural history. Yet this aspect of early writing often receives less attention. How are writing systems embedded in society and culture? How are they shaped by human practice and agency, and how in turn do they affect these things? What is their relationship with material culture and what would an ‘archaeology of writing systems’ look like?

This conference aims to bring together researchers utilising a wide range of approaches to address these questions, including archaeology, anthropology, cultural history and sociology, and going beyond the traditional epigraphic, philological and linguistic approaches. We are particularly interested in exploring and establishing methodologies for approaching these sort of questions, rather than concentrating only on specific case studies. The conference is focused on historic writing systems, but does not have a specific chronological or geographical restriction: on the contrary, diversity and comparative approaches are encouraged.

Papers are welcomed from researchers from all backgrounds, disciplines and stages of their careers.

Papers will last 30 minutes with 15 minutes for questions. Please send proposals for titles together with a 300-word abstract to Dr Philip Boyes ( by 1st October 2018. Proceedings will be published as part of the CREWS series.”

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March 14, 2019
March 16, 2019
Event Category:


Dr. Philip Boyes


University of Cambridge
United Kingdom
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