• Call for papers - Middle Ages

    Arabic Chancellery Documents through the Prism of Historicity

    Writing, Vocabulary, Syntax, and Intertextuality from ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd al-Kātib (d. 750) to al-Qalqashandī (d. 1418)

    This conference will address the evolution of chancellery styles, their regional diversity, and the history of the rhymed prose (sajʿ), this language of authority that was supposed to obey rules definitively fixed by the Prophet or the first secretaries of the Islamic Empire. What were the technical modalities for innovation? On what semantic, lexical, syntactical, and/or graphic levels did it manifest? Rather than on norms, codes, and rules, studies will focus on writing styles, orthographic variants, atypical handwriting, deletion, the transgression of norms, semantic revitalization, neologisms, and the variety of styles for citing the Quran or referencing ḥadīth. We are seeking to renew study of a corpus considered not as a fixed and ossified text, technical and off-putting, but as a living, evolving, and diverse ensemble.

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