Trends in Premodern Media Studies

Today we continue a series of features on the Collaboratory’s new 5×5 Incubator Grant teams.

“Trends in Premodern Media Studies” has formed to explore an emerging field which addresses questions about how scribalism, oral transmission, visual culture, and embodied performance interacted in the formation of traditions in the premodern period. Unlike contemporary media studies, a field already well-represented at the University of Michigan, “there are currently no venues available for comparative or theoretical discussion of media dynamics that were at work across geographical areas or cultural traditions in the premodern world,” report members of the new 5×5 Incubator Grant team.

The collaborative explorations of the team will be contributing to the evolution of a new field of study as the 5×5 Incubator Grant brings together scholars representing a range of ancient studies and area studies.Team members—including Rebecca Wollenberg, Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies; Reginald Jackson, Assistant Professor of Premodern Japanese Literature; Jay Crisostomo, Assistant Professor of Assyriology; Cameron Cross, Assistant Professor of Iranian Studies; and Celia Schultz, Professor of Classical Studies—aim to “identify the most urgent shared questions emerging across subfields at the moment” and ultimately hope to spearhead further collaborative research in premodern media at U-M.

Designed to spark compelling conversations, 5×5 Incubator Grants bring together small groups of faculty, lecturers, research scientists, librarians, curators, post-docs and other university scholars from a range of fields for a short-term engagement in exploring common interests.

Photo: Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.  Decorated Text Page. North African, 9th century, MS. Ludwig X 1, fol. 8v.