"Tied and Bound”: How to Keep Things Together (or Not?)
When: Thu, 20.05.2021 2:00 PM until Sat, 22.05.2021 1:00 PM
Where: Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC), Warburgstraße 26, 20354 Hamburg, 0001
Assuming that ‘codicological units’ exist in whatever manuscript cultures and that they are composed of discrete elements, the issue of cohesion of these elements is a general and even universal one. Every manuscript culture has therefore developed physical devices to keep writing surfaces together and these devices can be generally categorized under binding. Like other features of manuscript culture, so also cohesion of these elements is placed along a continuum, within which various degrees of cohesion, coherence, and stability are discernible—loose-leaves, codices disligati, as well as ‘soft bindings’, as opposed to regularly bound codices in codex cultures, and parallel cases from bamboo slips, palm-leaf manuscripts, rolls, peculiar arrangements of tree-bark manuscripts etc. in other cultures as well. ‘Keeping things together’—or not, that is to be able to disarray and single out quickly and easily one or more discrete elements when needed—is a central concern in archiving, ordering, and preserving as well, and has actual implications in all related practices, like collecting materials, filing cards, making boxes and cases, and retrieving in case. Well including all codex-centred binding topics, the conference also aims to explore cases where binding is either an intermediate stage in the production (for example in the case of ‘tacketing for binding’, as investigated by Jan-Peter Gumbert), or a peculiar challenge of its own (for example while excerpting from large collections of manuscripts), or a special kind of binding is required by the peculiar manuscript or artefact in place (for example in case of concertina book forms, like the concertina-like ‘liturgical fans’, Eth. marawǝḥ, Gr. rhipídion or hexaptérygon, Lat. flabellum etc.). Discussion on sociology of binding is also welcome—who binds? who are the professional binders? which their tasks and how specialized their skills?—, and why binding could not be accommodated in the theoretical framework of La Syntaxe du Codex? Hang on! it is going to be a ‘dense & tense’ conference!