Layers of Parchment, Layers of Time: Reconstructing Manuscripts 800 – 1600

Event Date: 
23 Jun 2017


Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

Confirmed keynote speaker: Dr David Rundle, ‘Utopia, Babel and Dystopias, past and present’.


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.


Call for Papers

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 by 1 February 2017.


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.

Submission date for papers: 
01 Feb 2017