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The Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures at Queen’s (CMTC) is an interdisciplinary research platform that brings together specialists and students working on manuscript and text cultures of the ancient Near East, the Mediterranean (Greece and Rome), ancient East and South Asia, and medieval Europe.

‘Manuscript and Text Cultures’ describes a phenomenon that begins when handwritten manuscripts start to circulate more widely and knowledge transmission becomes increasingly text centred and no longer a predominantly oral exercise. The focus of the Centre lies on examining material aspects of writing and text production, including inscriptions, as well as transmission and the interface between the oral and the written, across pre-modern literate societies. 

When, how, and what?

CMTC is a unique platform where international specialists and research students engage in close dialogue across their areas of expertise and inform each other about approaches and theories. We normally convene three times per term in the Magrath Room of The Queen’s College for lunchtime colloquia and research workshops.

The language of CMTC is English. Contributions will be at once specialised and interdisciplinary in perspective. The goal is to generate wider discussions that cross subject boundaries by focusing on methodological issues. CMTC therefore examines shared and culture-specific elements in the development of manuscript cultures in pre-modern societies. As such, CMTC will showcase the study of literate societies in interdisciplinary form.

Directly related to the interdisciplinary interests of CMTC include the enquiry into literacy and reading practices, relations between authors, scribes, scripteurs, and readers, as well as researching media production technology. CMTC serves a key role in connecting such questions to enable the informed debate across subject boundaries for interdisciplinary and intercultural enquiry. 

Research Workshop (5 - 7 pm)

·      Wednesday, week 6

The Workshop takes the format of a one-hour presentation, followed by one hour of discussion.

Lunchtime Colloquia (12.30 - 2pm)

·      Tuesday, week 2:

Two members of faculty discuss work in progress

·      Tuesday, week 4:

Two doctoral students discuss work in progress





Who are we?

CMTC began as an initiative of fellows at Queen’s, where it still meets. It provides the nucleus of a research cluster for the Humanities in the College with a focus on knowledge production and text circulation which we hope will attract future graduate students. The Board of the interdisciplinary Workshop is as follows: Dirk Meyer (Chinese); Angus Bowie (Classics); John Baines
 (Egyptology); and Charles Crowther (Ancient history, epigraphy); Selena Wisnom (Sumerian and Akkadian); Henrike Lähnemann, St Edmund Hall (Medieval languages and cultures); Yegor Grebnev, Wolfson College (Chinese). Please email us if you wish to receive further information or if you like to suggest a speaker for the events.