All Events

Anthropology of Texts: Crossroads and Connections in Medieval and Early Modern Societies and Cultures

Date: July 27th-28th, 2024
Location: Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Ireland
Submission Deadline: January 31st 2024.


The research team of the ERC funded research project Arabic Poetry in the Cairo Genizah (APCG), based at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin, invites scholars and researchers to participate in our upcoming international conference exploring the multifaceted dimensions of the Anthropology of Texts. This conference is part of the ongoing APCG project based in TCD in close collaboration with Cambridge University Library. A crucial strand of the project is to conduct an anthropological study of the Jewish people of medieval and Ottoman Egypt through manuscripts of Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic poetry and secondary literature. The focus is on the role that poetry played in cultural life as an expression of Egyptian-Jewish experience in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period.

About the Conference

The Anthropology of Texts conference oers a dynamic platform for scholars from diverse fields to come together and explore in depth the notion of textuality. This conference aims to unravel the rich tapestry of history, culture, writing systems, and practices that characterized the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. By scrutinizing the contexts in which these texts emerged and the networks through which they travelled, we seek to decipher their role in shaping societies and in being shaped by those societies.

Some of the engaging questions we seek to explore are: How do texts, whether scripted, spoken, or material artifacts shape their contemporary societies? What insights do they provide into the value systems, ideologies, and everyday lives of various groups? Can texts become conduits for understanding the interplay between local dynamics and global communities at the time? By tracing cultural intersections and geographic links embedded in these texts, can we reveal unexplored connections between seemingly disparate places and people? Additionally, what can the practices of textual production and inscription reveal about the societies they originated from?

Topics of Interest

We invite submissions on a wide array of topics that align with the conference theme including, but not limited to:

  • Text Production and Circulation: Exploring the dynamics of text creation, transmission, and dissemination in various forms—written, oral, and material artifacts.
    Text Functions and Social Implications: Investigating the roles of texts in societal contexts, their functions, and the social implications they carried.
  • Reception of Texts: Analyzing how texts were received, interpreted, and integrated into diverse cultural landscapes.
    Socio-historical Relations and Encounters: Uncovering narratives of interaction, conflict, and cooperation reflected in textual materials.
  • Global Connections: Tracing the threads of interconnectedness that spanned regions and cultures through textual channels.
    Scribal and Material Practices: Exploring the craftsmanship of text creation including scribal techniques and material choices.
  • Rituals, Customs, and Traditions: Examining the role of texts in perpetuating rituals, customs, and traditions within societies.
    Value Systems and Everyday Life: Decoding the values, beliefs, and quotidian experiences embedded in textual records.
  • People’s Interaction with their Environment: Unveiling how texts mirror human interaction with the physical and cultural environment.
  • Studies on the Genizah Fragments: Exploring the nuanced tapestry of Jewish-Egyptian community through folk and colloquial poems, or other fragments. Uncovering the nuanced expressions of masculinity, femininity, gender dynamics, as well as personal sexuality and public morality through the writings of the Jewish-Egyptian community.

Submission Guidelines

We invite submissions for individual papers and panels. Paper proposals should comprise a 250-300-word abstract along with a brief biographical note detailing research interests and relevant publications. Panel proposals should designate a session chair and include a session abstract, title, and concise abstracts for each participant’s paper, along with their respective biographies.

A bursary will be provided towards travel and accommodation costs and the selected papers will be published in an open-access volume.

Please submit all proposals to Mohamed Ahmed ([email protected]) and Sally Abed ([email protected]) by January 31st 2024.


  • July 27, 2024
Register now