Call for Submissions International Online Symposium "Textual Heritage" (March 2021)

Andrea Giolai Announcement
Subject Fields
Area Studies, Classical Studies, Humanities, World History / Studies, Social Sciences

We cordially invite proposals for the International symposium “Textual Heritage in the 21st Century World. Exploring the Potential of a New Analytic Category, to be hosted virtually by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (March 22-24, 2021 on Zoom)



Submission Deadline: December 21, 2020


Keynote Speakers

Wiebke Denecke (MIT)

David C. Harvey (Aarhus University)


Main topics

  • Processes of canonization and heritagization of texts
  • Hegemonic mechanisms of world literature and authorized heritage discourses
  • The “UNESCO Memory of the World” and the problem of authenticity
  • Heritage and materiality
  • Non-European systems of musical notation
  • Musical reconstructions
  • The ownership, authorship, and copyright of textual products
  • Any other aspect related to written texts and their heritagization



Heritage is spreading as a contagious academic category. Food heritage, heritage railways, smell heritage... the popularity of the word suggests that a new paradigm is quickly taking root across the Humanities and Social Sciences. At the same time, surprisingly, manuscripts, books, and other textual products have been notably absent from the interdisciplinary debate over intangible cultural heritage (ICH), despite their substantial cultural capital. This international symposium aims to explore the meanings and potentialities of textual heritage as a new analytic category through which we can challenge the split between tangible and intangible heritage. Given the increasingly connected and digitalized nature of research in the 21st century, we believe this debate is both timely and necessary. With this symposium, we wish to strengthen a dialogue between the Humanities and the Social Sciences through the interdisciplinary area of “heritage studies”. Bringing together both present-oriented approaches to texts and societies and disciplines that explore history and memory, our aim is to emphasize the role of modern and premodern texts in shaping cultural identities. We expand current notions of textuality, stretching the limits of what a text can be and do. Therefore, we adopt a broad approach to texts and their materiality, welcoming contributions that deal with all kinds of documents resulting from a technology of inscription. Such an inclusive conception of “text” encompasses manuscripts, epigraphs, musical notations, architectural plans and maps, both in analog and digital formats. We welcome theoretical contributions and case studies that engage with the concept of textual heritage, exploring how “texts” are produced, used and re-created in order to make sense of the relation between past and present.


Guidelines for Submission

We invite abstracts for 30-minute presentations, followed by 15 minutes of general discussion.

  • Abstracts should not exceed 500 words, excluding references but including tables and charts.
  • All abstracts should be submitted in English, which will also be the language of the conference.
  • Please include a short biography of approximately 250 words.

Please submit your abstract and biography in a single PDF file by sending an email to before December 21, 2020.


We plan to collect some of the papers presented at our symposium, substantially revised, and publish them as an edited volume.


For any questions or inquiries, please send an email to or to .



Edoardo Gerlini, Marie Curie Fellow, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Andrea Giolai, Leiden University

Contact Information

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