Saturday, November 22, 2008

Call for Papers: Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture

Call for Papers: 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.

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