École d’été – From shelf to byte. A history of writing from the ancient to the contemporary world

The Summer School “From shelf to byte. A history of writing from ancient to contemporary world” is a two-week intensive course dedicated to the history of handwriting and of the book in the West.

The Summer School is organized by the RAM (Ricerche e Analisi Manoscritti) Study Centre of the Department of Classics and Italian Studies of the University of Bologna in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Advancing and Professional Studies of the University of Massachussetts Boston.

Students will learn the basic principles of Latin Paleography, discovering the several threads linking the past to the present of handwriting and examining the conventions of writing that become established over time, from ancient scrolls to medieval manuscripts to blogging platforms.

A great part of the course will be devoted to handling and describing the ancient Bolognese manuscripts that contain early examples of writing and page design. In addition to this hands-on work, students will critically analyze the relationship between the physical environments for texts and the content of the texts themselves – from the vast importance of annotation in medieval law books to abbreviations in texts and tweets of today, drawing on the innovative methods of digital humanities.

This work will help students to identify the rhetorical principles that shape interactions between writers and their audiences over time, and to assess the implications for our understanding of the past, present, and future of text technologies.

Finally, through some lessons and practical exercises of calligraphy, students will see firsthand the value, the potentialities and the beauty of longhand writing.

The course will be scheduled as follows:

  • 44 hours of classwork
  • 11 hours of lessons in libraries and archives
  • 24 hours of cultural activities
  • one-day trip

Course Coordinator: Prof. Maddalena Modesti (Department of Classics and Italian Studies)

All teaching and activities will be in English

Deadline for application: May 15th, 2016
How to apply : here

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Programme :

Monday, June 27th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations – Aula Gualandi

9,00-9,30 : Welcome and information
9,30-11,00 : What is Paleography? Aims, Potentiality and Methods in the Study of Handwritten Sources (Maddalena Modesti)
11,00-13,00 : A Prehistory of Digital Writing (Alex Mueller)
15,00-18,00 : Guided tour in Bologna. The main artistic treasures of Bologna (Paolo Cova)

Tuesday, June 28th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations – Aula Gualandi

9,00-11,00 : From Rome to Rome: Bologna, its Institutions and its written Sources during the Middle Ages (Igor Santos Salazar)
11,00-13,00 : Introduction to the History of Latin Handwriting (Annafelicia Zuffrano)
15,00-18,00 : Guided tour at the Archaeological Museum of Bologna. On the path of Writing between East and West (Flavia Manservigi)

Wednesday, June 29th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations – Aula Gualandi

9,00-11,00 : Beyond Manuscripts and Books: Introduction to Diplomatics and to the Diplomatics Sources (Annafelicia Zuffrano)
11,00-13,00 : History of the abbreviation System: from the Late Antiquity to SMS (Flavia Manservigi)
15,00-18,00 : The State Archive of Bologna and its Treasures

Thursday, June 30th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations – Aula Gualandi

9,00-11,00 : Minima Codicologica: introduction to Codicology (Leonardo Quaquarelli)
11,00-13,00 : The Medieval Art of Letter Writing (Alex Mueller)
15,00-18,00 : The University Library of Bologna and its Treasures

Friday, July 1st 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations – Aula Gualandi

9,00-11,00 : The graphic panorama from the 11th century to the University writing Systems (14th cent.) (Annafelicia Zuffrano)
11,00-13,00 : A brief History of Illumination (Paolo Cova)
15,00-18,00 : Guided tour in the Medieval Museum (Paolo Cova)

Saturday, July 2nd 2016
Guided tour in Ferrara (Emilia Romagna)

9,00-18,00 : Ferrara, a small Renaissance capital city (Paolo Cova)

Monday, July 4th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations

9,00-11,00 : Bologna and the origin of the University (Francesca Roversi Monaco)
11,00-13,00 : Juridical Books from late Antiquity to the medieval University Books (Lorenza Iannacci)
15,00-18,00 : Guided tour in Bologna. The University of Bologna: 1000 years of History (Paolo Cova)

Tuesday, July 5th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations

9,00-11,00 : Medieval and Digital Forms of Commentary (Alex Mueller)
11,00-13,00 : Digital Resources and Document Representation (Francesca Tomasi)
15,00-18,00 : The Archbischop Archive and its Treasures

Wednesday, July 6th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations

9,00-11,00 : Writing Poetry and Commenting in Bologna 15th Century Humanism (Andrea Severi)
11,00-13,00 : The graphic Panorama: the Humanistic Scripts (Lorenza Iannacci)
15,00-17,00 : Cataloguing: an Introduction (with samples and practical Exercises) (Valeria Roncuzzi)

Thursday, July 7th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations

9,00-11,00 : Mashup and Remix in the Early Age of Print (Alex Mueller)
11,00-13,00 : What we Talk about when we Talk about Calligraphy (Alessandro Salice)
15,00-17,00 : From Manuscript to printed World: the Coming of Incunabula and Title Page (1450-1550) (Paolo Tinti)

Friday, July 8th 2016
Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations

9,00-13,00 : Practical introduction to Calligraphy: shape and proportions of the Roman Capitals (Barbara Calzolari, Alessandro Salice)
15,00-18,00 : Final exam and discussion

Source : Università di Bologna

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