[INDOLOGY] Cross-section panel at the WSC 2015: Manuscript Collections—What, How and Why should we catalogue

C.A. Formigatti caf57 at cam.ac.uk
Mon Nov 24 22:48:42 UTC 2014

Dear Colleagues,

As the submission deadline for the World Sanskrit Conference is drawing 
near (November 30), we thought it proper to tell the Indological 
community that there are still a couple of free slots in the panel we 
are organising, especially in the section on the definition and analysis 
of manuscript collections as a whole.

Call for paper:

'Manuscript Collections—What, How and Why should we catalogue'

The present panel "Manuscript collections—what, how and why should we 
catalogue" will take place across two sections of the WSC: 'Sanskrit and 
the IT World' and 'Manuscriptology'. The driving idea behind this panel 
originates from the recently completed three-year project on the 
Cambridge collections of Sanskrit (and generally Indic) manuscripts.
The panel is intended to be divided in three tables. The first table, 
dealing with "What" should be catalogued, will be organised within the 
Manuscriptology section and will focus on issues of definition and 
delimitations, in the attempt to assess what a manuscript is and what a 
manuscript collection (including both modern collections and pre-modern 
libraries) can be considered to be, with a sub-focus on the history of 
collections and manuscripts, both in Europe and in the Indian 
subcontinent. The theoretical nature of this panel will be balanced by 
concrete case-studies such as the Cambridge collections. The second 
table, dealing with "How" manuscripts should be catalogued, will be 
organised within the 'Sanskrit and IT world' and will focus on the 
contemporary 'digital' modes of cataloguing and on the paradigm shift 
that they embody in the way of conceiving any study of manuscripts 
collections, with particular attention to issues of standardisation, 
accessibility, improvability and storage. The third table, about "Why" 
should manuscript collections be catalogued, will be organised within 
the 'Manuscriptology' section and will focus on the specific research 
avenues that online cataloguing is opening up, especially in the fields 
of quantitative codicology, palaeography, research into manuscript 
materiality, history of knowledge transmission, etc., without however 
disregarding more 'traditional', philological contributions ensuing from 
the study of manuscript collections, such as discovery of lost texts, 
critical editions and so forth.
With this panel, we hope to offer an original contribution to the 
ongoing debate in the field of Manuscript Studies and its centrality in 
the understanding of the history and culture of the Indian subcontinent. 
Moreover, we aim at showing how the honing of sharp theoretical tools 
and the full understanding of the practical tools offered by IT are 
essential aspects of the research into both textuality and materiality 
of the South Asian manuscript culture.

Camillo Formigatti
Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit
University of Cambridge

Daniele Cuneo
Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
Leiden Institute for Area Studies
SAS India en Tibet
Leiden University

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