Home & Schedule

This Mellon Sawyer seminar is an interdisciplinary collaboration dedicated to mapping cultural exchanges across Eurasia from roughly 400-1450 CE, by focusing on the development, distribution and sharing of manuscript technologies.

Schedule of Public Lectures

Mellon Sawyer lectures are open to the public and will take place on the University of Iowa campus, Iowa City. Note that UCC refers to University Capitol Center and IMU refers to the Iowa Memorial Union.

Friday 9 SEPTEMBER 2016 – 1-2:30pm / 2520-D UCC (University Capitol Centre)
Paul Dilley
Welcome and Opening Lecture
“From Roll to Codex?: Christians, Manichaeans, and the Book across Late Antique Eurasia”
Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies/ Classics, University of Iowa

Friday 16 SEPTEMBER 2016 – 1-2:30pm / 2032 UI Main Library
Shai Secunda

“‘You May Not Communicate Oral Matters in Writing’: Writing and its Absence in the Transmission of Rabbinic and Zoroastrian Texts”
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Friday 4 NOVEMBER 2016 – 347 IMU Minnesota Room
Michael Friedrich
“Ancient and Medieval Chinese Manuscripts”
Universität Hamburg, Department of Chinese Language and Culture; Director, Research Group on the Manuscript Cultures of Asia, Africa, and Europe, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures

Zsuzsanna Gulacsi
“From Picture Books to Illuminated Manuscripts: The Formation of Manichaean Book Culture in its Eurasian Context”
Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, Northern Arizona University

Friday 18 NOVEMBER 2016Zsuzsanna Gulacsi’s lecture moved to Nov. 4

Friday 2 DECEMBER 2016 – 166 IMU Iowa Theater (Iowa Memorial Union)
William Johnson
“From Bookroll to Codex”

Classical Studies, Duke University

Susan Whitfield
“Beyond Scrolls and Codices: Manuscript Formats on the Eastern Silk Road”

Director, International Dunhuang Project, British Library

Marina Rustow
“Fatimid State Documents, Serial Recyclers and the Cairo Geniza”

Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, Princeton University

Myriam Krutzsch
“Papyrus as an Ancient Writing Material: Its Structure, Production and Classification”

Aegyptisches Museum, Berlin
moved to 1-1:45pm

Mark Barnard
“The Dunhuang Diamond Sutra of AD 868: A Conservation Approach That Goes Back to the Original”

Senior Conservator Emeritus, British Library
moved to 2-2:45pm

Friday 16 DECEMBER 2016 – 2520-D UCC
TH Barrett
“The End of the Manuscript? Buddhism and Early Printing in Asia”

Professor Emeritus, Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Abdurishid Yakup
“Aspects of Old Uyghur Printed Texts: Corpus, Technique, Dating, Production, Use and Sponsoring”

Professor, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences; Distinguished Professor and Dean, School of Minority Languages and Literatures, Central University of Nationalities, Beijing

20 JANUARY 2017 – 2520D UCC
Brent Seales
“From Damage to Discovery via Virtual Unwrapping: Reading the Scroll from En-Gedi”

Gill Professor, Computer Science Department, University of Kentucky

Vito Mocella
“The Quest of Lost Ancient Literature: The Secrets of Herculaneum Papyri Revealed Through Synchrotron Based Techniques”

National Research Council, Rome

3 FEBRUARY 2017 –  0151 Voxman Music Building
Kevin van Bladel
“The Six Manuscript Traditions of the Sasanian Kingdom”

Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Ohio State University

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller
“From Parchment to ‘Big Data’: Methods and Tools for a Computational History of Medieval Afro-Eurasia”

Researcher, Institute for Medieval Research, Division of Byzantine Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences

17 FEBRUARY 2017 – 2520-D UCC
Richard Salomon
“From Birch Bark to Palm Leaves: The Evolution of the Earliest Surviving Buddhist Manuscript Tradition”
Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington

Justin McDaniel
“Tracing Pali and Thai Manuscripts from Japan to Ireland: Collections, Collectors, and Connections”

Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Jim Canary
“The Tibetan Book and Its Precursors”

Head of Conservation, Lilly Library, University of Indiana

10 MARCH 2017 – 2520-D UCC Sabine Schmidtke moved to 31 March

31 MARCH 2017 – 2520-D UCC
AnneMarie Luijendijk
Professor, Department of Religion, Princeton University
and Brent Nongbri
Associate Professor, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University
“Cultural and Textual Exchanges in Late Antique Oxyrhynchus: Papyri and Parchments with Christian Texts”


François Deroche
“The Arabic Manuscript Tradition”

Professor, Collège de France

Sabine Schmidtke
“The Yemeni Zaydi Manuscript Tradition, 13th through 20th century”

Professor, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Yasmeen Khan
“Bindings Informed by the Arab Manuscript Tradition: A Conservator’s Perspective”

Senior Rare Book Conservator, Library of Congress

14 APRIL 2017 – 2520-D UCC
Lynn Ransom
“Manuscript Description in a Crowd-Sourced, Open-Access World: Problems and Perspectives from the New Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts Project”
Curator and Project Manager, The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts Project, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania

Daniel Lord Smail
“Why do People Keep Things (including Manuscripts)?”

Professor of History, Harvard University

28 APRIL 2017 – 2520-D UCC
Marina Rustow
“Fatimid State Documents, Serial Recyclers and the Cairo Geniza”

Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, Princeton University

Erik Kwakkel
“Aristotle and the Medieval University: The Birth of a New Book Format”

Professor and Scaliger Chair for the Study and Promotion of Special Collections, Universiteit Leiden

Katherine Tachau
“Piece-work and Medieval University Book Production: The Pecia”

Professor of History, University of Iowa