Workshop on Manuscript Cultures

Fourth Biannual Ph.D. Student and Early-Career Scholar Workshop

Manuscript Culture in Ancient Egypt and China

International Center for the Study of Ancient Text Cultures

Renmin University of China

Beijing, January 14–18, 2019

The International Center for the Study of Ancient Text Cultures (ICSATC), hosted at Renmin University of China, will hold its Fourth Ph.D. Student and Early-Career Scholar Workshop on January 14 -18, 2019. Four days of seminars will be concluded with student presentations and plenary discussion on the fifth day. The principal language of instruction and interaction will be English.

Ph.D. students, see application details below.


This week-long seminar will explore the basic institutions, agents, practices, and media that shaped manuscript culture in ancient Egypt and early and medieval China. By comparing Egypt and China from both a diachronic and cross-cultural perspective, we will discover the differences and commonalities in how these cultures produced, stored, and transmitted information, and in the process, become sensitive to the theories and methods that enable researchers to study ancient manuscript cultures most profitably. These two long-standing manuscript cultures will serve as case studies for honing our skills in formulating productive research questions, collecting relevant data, and selecting suitable methodologies. Students and early-career scholars in any field of manuscript studies (irrespective of time period, language, or region) will benefit from an in-depth look at, and intensive engagement with, the rich sources that Egypt and China offer to study the dynamics of manuscript cultures. The seminars will be interactive and offer ample opportunity for participants to discuss their own research data and questions.


The International Center for the Study of Ancient Text Cultures (ICSATC) of RUC

Meeting Place:

Renmin University of China, Beijing


Maria Cannata, Peking University (Egyptian legal manuscripts)

Jacco Dieleman, The Catholic University of America (Egyptian religious manuscripts)

Imre Galambos, University of Cambridge (Early Chinese and Dunhuang manuscripts)

Ben Haring, Leiden University (Egyptian administrative manuscripts)

Chen Jian, Fudan University (Early Chinese Manuscripts)


Sunday January 13

Arrival and registration


Monday January 14

9:00-12:30                   Dieleman: Egyptian language, writing, and manuscripts

14:30-16:00                 Haring: The format and purpose of New Kingdom documentary texts

16:30-18:00         Galambos: Jottings, scribbles, and punctuation in medieval Chinese manuscripts


Tuesday January 15

9:00-12:30                   Dieleman: Formal and vernacular literatures in Ancient Egypt

14:30-16:00         Haring: Identity marks and pseudo-script in Theban necropolis administration of the New Kingdom

16:30-18:00         Galambos: The codex as a book form in Chinese manuscript culture


Wednesday January 16

9:00-12:30                   Dieleman: Manuals for state and private rituals in Ancient Egypt

14:30-16:00         Cannata: The formats, uses, and range of Demotic legal texts (1st mill. BCE)

16:30-18:00         Chen Jian: Diction and Vocabulary Changes in the Transmission of Ancient Chinese Texts (part I)


Thursday January 17

9:00-12:30                   Dieleman: Bilingual manuscripts from Ancient Egypt

14:30-16:00         Cannata: The Undertakers’ Archives: business, family, and society in Hellenistic Egypt

16:30-18:00         Chen Jian: Diction and Vocabulary Changes in the Transmission of Ancient Chinese Texts (part II)


Friday January 18

9:00-12:30                   student presentations

14:30-16:00                 student presentations

16:30-18:00                 plenary discussion


The program will accept 40 Ph.D. students who are specializing in a premodern manuscript culture (not limited to Egypt or China) and will benefit from comparative perspectives in their dissertation research. Half the number of students will be admitted from Chinese universities, the other half from universities outside China. Those who have passed their Ph.D. qualifying examinations and have started writing their dissertations are encouraged to apply.

Room, board, and other local expenses will be covered by the Center. Students are expected to cover their own airfare and transportation to Beijing. The Center can provide students with documentation to apply for travel funds from their own university or other granting agencies. All necessary visa documentation will be provided by the Center, but visa processing fees will not be covered.

Applications should be sent by October 10, 2018 to: 


Personal Information


Current Address:

Current Phone:

Current E-mail:

Emergency Contact:

Date of Birth: 



Passport Number and Expiration:


Academic Information

Academic Status (Ph.D. students):





Expected Date of Graduation:

Thesis Topic or Research Area:


Study Plan

Please describe in one page or less your current research and/or study plans. Include a discussion of what you hope to gain from participation in the workshop and how participation in the workshop will further your research goals and objectives. 

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