From Scroll to Screen: Translation and Reading from Ancient to Modern (Deadline July 15th, 2011
What does Rome have to do with Cupertino? Or the bulky and unwieldy technology of the book scroll with the sleekness of the iPad? Although posing the question may seem absurd, the answer is – a great deal. Ancient book scrolls were unrolled at one end and rolled up at the other end as one read; as a result, it was far easier to access the beginning and end of a text than the middle. A similar process occurs when reading texts on a computer screen: unless one knows to search for a particular string of text, the opening and closing sections of a document are the easiest portions to access. What will this mean for processes of reading and translating, especially in societies that do not stress memorization? What will it mean for scholarship and citation processes? This symposium will investigate how we, as readers and translators, process information, exploring how ancient processes of reading and translation can inform the modern – and vice versa.
We invite papers of 15-20 minutes in length addressing issues of translation and reading that investigate these and similar issues across a wide spectrum of societies and technologies and across diverse geographical and historical ranges and cultural traditions. Papers may address connections and overlap between an ancient practice and a modern one or one or the other of these; they may explore any historical period, cultural tradition, form of translation or reading practice. Papers that deal with the cognitive processes in play when translating or reading texts or other forms of media are particularly welcome.