International Workshop Call for papers Learning scripts, forgetting scripts. New approaches to the history of writing in the Roman West.

March 29, 2018
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International workshop organized by the Instituto Universitario de Análisis y Técnicas Textuales of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in collaboration with the ERC LatinNow project (University of Nottingham - CSAD, University of Oxford), and funded by the BBVA Foundation (Leonardo Grants for Scientific and Cultural projects 2017).

The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars working on the different writing systems employed in the West from Protohistory to the end of the Roman Empire, in order to apprehend the social, cultural and cognitive implications of literacy in Antiquity, from both a collective and an individual point of view.

We are interested in topics related to the acquisition of writing as well as to the diachronic evolution and abandonment of scripts, mainly during the Roman period. The orientation of the meeting is clearly interdisciplinary, taking into account the study of epigraphic, archaeological and literary sources, as well as psycho-cognitive, sociolinguistic and anthropological approaches. Consequently, the papers may cover contextualization, historical and theoretical analyses, as well as more concrete case studies, either on epichoric or colonial scripts, or on the relationship between these two groups. Finally, papers on the contribution of digital humanities to the study and treatment of ancient writings and their documentary sources are also welcome.

Participants will have a maximum of 30 minutes to present their work, followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussion. The papers presented at the workshop will be published as an edited volume. Thanks to generosity of the BBVA Foundation, we offer financial support to assist with the costs of travel and accommodation.

Possible topics for papers include, but are not limited to:

- Birth, evolution and extinction of the epichoric writing systems.

- Diachronic or palaeographic analyses of the scripts documented in the area under study.

- Teaching/learning the technique of writing: epigraphic practices and writing exercises; systems of education and transmission of knowledge; the use of literary texts for teaching to write.

- The adoption of the Latin script by speakers of other languages and the relationship of this phenomenon with Latinization.

- The functionality of the abecedaria in different cultural areas, and the potential use of writing as an apotropaic element.

- The adaptation of a given writing system to write different languages.

- Phenomena of “alphabet switching”.

- Use of numbers and accounting in a specific writing system.

- Recent developments in, and methodologies of, digital epigraphy and their relevance for the study of ancient scripts and epigraphies (e.g. RTI, 3D modeling, Epidoc, Unicode).

Important dates:

Submission of proposals to the organizers, including name and affiliation of the candidate, paper title and abstract (up to 300 words): 15th April.

Notification of acceptance: first weeks of May.

Workshop: 8-9 November 2018

Publication of the proceedings: end of 2019.


Noemí Moncunill Martí ( and Manuel Ramírez Sánchez (

Workshop supported by a 2017 Leonardo Grant for Researchers and Cultural Creators, BBVA Foundation. The Foundation accepts no responsibility for the opinions, statements and contents included in the project and/or the results thereof, which are entirely the responsibility of the authors.