Scholarship between clay and light. Libraries, archives and documents in the Eastern world
Collaborative international workshop SFB 980 organized by the SFB Associate Project (head: Prof. Dr. E.-J. Lee), project A01 (heads: Prof. Dr. E. Cancik-Kirschbaum and Prof. Dr. J. Klinger) and project A02 (head: Prof. Dr. J. Kahl)
Under the influence of previous misconceptions and dismissive attitudes – rooted in part in classical Western interpretations of pre-modern, Eastern institutions  – the SFB workshop will utilize a multidisciplinary approach to assess the history, role and function of non-Western long-lasting libraries and archives, particularly insofar as these institutions do not conform to archetypes such as the Library of Alexandria or the classical libraries in Hellenistic Greece or Imperial Rome. Workshop discussions will examine the Eastern forms of library and archive, including institutions and collections such as the ancient Egyptian temple library of Tebtynis, the Sumerian literary compositions from the tablet house (é.dub.ba.a) in second millennium Nippur, a manuscript collection from a scroll storehouse in Qumran, Chinese oracular bones from a royal library of the Shang period, Tibetan manuscripts from a Buddhist library cave, Nara-picture scrolls from Medieval Japan, and Chinese and Korean state libraries as well as a wide variety of historical records housed in Korean academic institutions in the countryside which served as libraries, archives for documents and woodblocks for printing, as well as local centers for the production and dissemination of books.
Scholars at the SFB workshop will deal with fundamental questions of the definition, nature and function of these institutions and collections. In addition, they will compare the mechanics of habitualization and reproduction that characterize scribal work in these institutions with evidence for creativity, innovation and initiative in these same centers. In other words, the participants in the workshop will challenge traditional, rigid concepts with particular examples of cultural, intellectual and technical change that were achieved within the walls of these institutions of knowledge, wisdom and belief. Likewise, this diverse group of experts will also analyze the degree of emic classifications of different types of knowledge, the ways in which library materials were organized, manipulated and stored, the amount of access that different persons had to the collections, and the self-positioning of scribes, priests, monks and other custodians of this knowledge.
Further details about the workshop are available for download here.
The collaborative international workshop was organized by:
Prof. Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum, Prof. Jochem Kahl, Prof. Jörg Klinger, Prof. Eung-Jeung Lee
MA Kaira Boddy, MA Michaela Engert, Dr. Cale Johnson
Dr. Antonio Morales and Dr. Andreas Müller-Lee
 See, for instance, Christian Jacob who, in his “Fragments of a history of ancient libraries” (in J. König, K. Oikonomopoulou, and G. Woolf (eds.), Ancient Libraries, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013) poses the western thought-oriented question “when did the first libraries appear in the classical world?”
Zeit & Ort
05.11.2015 - 07.11.2015
Freie Universität Berlin, Fabeckstr. 23–25 (Holzlaube), 14195 Berlin, 2. OG, Raum: 2.2051