Call for Papers

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, thousands of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts were removed from libraries and monasteries all over Europe, and their folios were cut out and sold.

Layers of Parchment, Layers of Time: Reconstructing Manuscripts 800 – 1600, is an interdisciplinary  day-long symposium that will explore various issues surrounding the complex subject of manuscript reconstruction. Our goal is to foster dialogues—between different disciplines—on how to approach dismembered manuscripts from intellectual and practical perspectives.

The symposium will features panels, that are composed thematically rather than by academic discipline, a round table discussion, a keynote, and a viewing of individual manuscript leaves from a Cambridge collection.

The symposium will take place on Friday 23 June 2017 and will be held at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge.

Dr David Rundle will give the keynote paper, titled ‘Utopia, Babel and Dystopias, past and present’.


We invite the submission of papers on the following topics (although most certainly not limited to):

The manuscript as an object made in layers over time
Digital reconstruction of manuscripts
New approaches to understanding reception
Methodologies for tracing lost/stolen fragments and leaves
Methodologies for reconstructing manuscripts
Economic, political, and legal consequences of reconstructing manuscripts
Reconstructed manuscripts in their original contexts
Modern methods of preservation for loose fragments/leaves
The art market as a means for fragment/leaf distribution
The role of collectors (public institutions and private individuals)

We encourage graduate students as well as established scholars to apply.

Papers will be scheduled for 20 minutes. Please submit your abstract, of no more than 300 words to Dr. Kathryn Rudy and Stephanie Azzarello at
reconstructing [dot] mss [dot] cambridge [at] gmail [dot] com
The Call for Papers is now closed.

Along with your abstract please include your name, institution, paper title and brief biography. We strongly encourage you to consider your paper as a performance, rehearse it well, and to avoid reading directly from the page, if possible. Successful applicants with be notified by 10 February 2017.