Call for Papers
Beyond the Written Word: Doing History with Non-Traditional Sources
Jerusalem, May 31st – June 1st, 2016
The written word has long been the fundamental tool of traditional historiography. Other sources, such as art, archaeological artefacts, music, performance, religious objects and other forms of material culture have been studied as part of other disciplines. Historians have either avoided discussing them or used them merely as illustrations and embellishments of word-based studies. In recent years, historians have increasingly recognized the importance of non-verbal sources, especially for studies that are not Eurocentric in nature or not focused on literate elites. In recognizing these sources as complementary rather than supplementary, historians have drawn from other disciplines, but have also had to face difficulties in integrating these sources into historical methodology.
This international workshop, hosted by the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities at the Hebrew University, seeks to tease out and bring forth these methodological problems by raising questions such as: what makes a primary source? How do we use non-traditional sources to conduct historical research? How can historians use material culture, music, art and other non-traditional sources to work within the discipline of history? What can they learn from other scholars that traditionally work with such sources, and where do they differ from the use in disciplines such as archaeology, art history, musicology, anthropology, etc.? The workshop will contribute to a wider debate about fundamental methodological changes in History in the twenty-first century. We would also consider the flexibility of disciplinary borders and the extent to which ideas and tools from one discipline can be adopted by another.
We invite papers on any topic or period of historical research, relying on non-verbal source material. Below are a few examples, but we encourage creative interpretations of the workshop theme.
- Theoretical/methodological papers on issues related to the use of such sources in the study of history.
In addition to panels dedicated to individual papers, participants will engage in a round table session dedicated to discussing the broader themes stemming from this workshop.
Please send a 1-2 page abstract of your paper and a copy of your CV to Beyond.firstname.lastname@example.org no later than January 30th, 2016.
We welcome scholars in all stages of their academic lives and from all disciplines, although papers should be focused on historical questions. Some travel assistance may be available for international scholars.