CFP: Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture (1/10/09)

by Jessica C. Murphy

Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture

Editors Brent Nelson (University of Saskatchewan) and Melissa Terras (University College London) invite submissions for a collection of essays on “Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture” to be published in the New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance Studies Series edited by Ray Siemens and William Bowen.

This collection of essays will build on the accomplishments of recent scholarship on materiality by bringing together innovative research on the theory and praxis of digitizing material cultures from roughly 500 A.D. to 1700 A.D. Scholars of the medieval and early modern periods have begun to pay more attention to the material world not only as a means of cultural experience, but also as a shaping influence upon culture and society, looking at the world of material objects as both an area of study and a rich source of evidence for interpreting the past. Digital media enable new ways of evoking, representing, recovering, and simulating these materials in non-traditional, non-textual (or para-textual) ways and present new possibilities for recuperating and accumulating material from across vast distances and time, enabling both preservation and comparative analysis that is otherwise impossible or impractical. Digital mediation also poses practical and theoretical challenges, both logistical (such as gaining access to materials) and intellectual (for example, the
relationship between text and object). This volume of essays will promote the deployment of digital technologies to the study of material culture by bringing together expertise garnered from complete and current digital projects, while looking forward to new possibilities for digital applications; it will both take stock of the current state of theory and practice and advance new developments in digitization of material culture.

The editors welcome submissions from all disciplines on any research that addresses the use of digital means for representing and investigating material culture as expressed in such diverse areas as:

• travelers’ accounts, navigational charts and cartography
• collections and inventories
• numismatics, antiquarianism and early archaeology
• theatre and staging (props, costumes, stages, theatres)
• the visual arts of drawing, painting, sculpture, print making, and
• model making
• paper making and book printing, production, and binding
• manuscripts, emblems, and illustrations
• palimpsests and three-dimensional writing
• instruments (magic, alchemical, and scientific)
• arts and crafts
• the anatomical and cultural body

We welcome approaches that are practical and/or theoretical, general in application or particular and project-based. Submissions should present fresh advances in methodologies and applications of digital technologies, including but not limited to:

• XML and databases and computational interpretation
• three-dimensional computer modeling, Second Life and virtual worlds
• virtual research environments
• mapping technology
• image capture, processing, and interpretation
• 3-D laser scanning, synchrotron, or X-ray imaging and analysis
• artificial intelligence, process modeling, and knowledge representation

Papers might address such topics and issues as:

• the value of inter-disciplinarity (as between technical and humanist experts)
• relationships between image and object; object and text; text and image
• the metadata of material culture
• curatorial and archival practice
• mediating the material object and its textual representations
• imaging and data gathering (databases and textbases)
• the relationship between the abstract and the material text
• haptic, visual, and auditory simulation
• tools and techniques for paleographic analysis

Enquiries and proposals should be sent to brent.nelson[at] by 10 January 2009. Complete essays of 5,000-6,000 words in length will be due on 1 May 2009.