Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar

Cultural and Textual Exchanges: The Manuscript Across Pre-Modern Eurasia

Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar

During the 2016–17 academic year, a core group of University of Iowa faculty and graduate students will work to map cultural exchanges across Eurasia from roughly 400 CE ­ ca. 1450 CE, by focusing on the development, distribution, and sharing of manuscript technologies. Funded by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Cultural and Textual Exchanges: The Manuscript Across Pre-Modern Eurasia, will bring 25 visiting scholars and conservators to campus. These visitors, each of whom is an internationally recognized expert in the various manuscript cultures of pre­modern Eurasia, will give public talks in addition to working privately with the seminar.

During the year, the seminar participants, with assistance from the UI Libraries’ Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio, will develop an innovative website tracking the development of Eurasian manuscript formats and materials chronologically and geographically. This digital product of the seminar is intended as a permanent resource for new research into the relationships between books and the spread and development of religions.

Leading the seminar are Paul Dilley (Religious Studies and Classics, CLAS), Katherine Tachau (History, CLAS), and Timothy Barrett (Center for the Book, Graduate College). The interdisciplinary trio is determined to unlock the secrets of manuscript diversity and globalization before the printed book through the seminar’s conversations and investigations.