Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Postscripts

Inscriptions: A Special Issue of Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds
Special Issue editors:
Jeremy Stolow (Communication Studies, Concordia University, Canada)
Lisa Gitelman (History of Science, Harvard University)
Call for Papers
The title of this special journal issue, “Inscriptions,” is meant to draw attention to a muchneglected
topic in the study of sacred texts: their materiality. Our goal is to challenge a longstanding
‘discursive’ bias among scholars of literature and belief, whereby it is often assumed that the study of
texts is sufficiently exhausted through an examination of the authorial intentions and the interpretive
possibilities of linguistic utterances, with recourse to the well-honed tools of philology, hermeneutics,
psychoanalysis, narratology, or deconstructivist reading strategies. While recognizing the importance of
such work, we wish to approach texts by focussing instead on their physical properties, as well as the
dynamic interactions of devices, techniques, and habits that lie beneath and within a given text, helping to
define the conditions for its perceptual apprehension and bodily engagement.
For this special issue of Postscripts, we seek contributions that elaborate and extend our proposed
consideration of the materiality of sacred texts broadly considered, attending to such things as their
layout, their material substrate (leather, paper, computer screens, etc), or the relationships between sacred
texts and their complementary technologies of transportation, storage, indexing, artificial illumination, or
waste management. What are the connections between materiality and belief? How have new media
helped to reveal or to confound sacred matter? Are there historically and culturally specific pathways
from text to relic? While we wish to keep this call for papers as open as possible, we are especially
interested in papers that offer historical, ethnographic, archaeological, and/or material cultural analyses of
particular texts and their material environments.
Submission instructions:
Please send a short proposal (a title plus an abstract of circa 200 words), and a brief bio-note
(including your contact details) to All submissions received by 1 January
2009 are assured full consideration.
About the Journal:
Postscripts is a new, fully refereed journal devoted to the academic study of scripture around the globe.
The study of sacred texts has historically been a highly technical, specialized and elite practice, held in
preserve by religious authorities and professional scholars. As important as this technical and specialized
work is, it represents only a small proportion of the rich panoply of engagements with texts that are
foundational in the lives of individuals and communities around the world -- texts that travel under the
name of 'scripture' or 'sacred' text. Postscripts takes seriously a broad array of historical and
contemporary engagements with such texts and aims to open up the discussion of sacred texts by crossing
traditional boundaries, bringing different disciplinary tools to the process of analysis, and opening up a
sustained dialogue between and among scholars and others who are interested in religion, textuality,
media and mediation and the contemporary world.
For more information, visit Postscripts at: 􀀁

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