Origins of Writing (fwd)

From: James E. Agenbroad (
Date: Thu Mar 25 1999 - 11:40:12 EST

                                              Thursday, March 25, 1999
Of possible interest to some. Sorry about the short notice, I just learned
about this yesterday.

          Jim Agenbroad ( )
     The above are purely personal opinions, not necessarily the official
views of any government or any agency of any.
Phone: 202 707-9612; Fax: 202 707-0955; US mail: I.T.S. Dev.Gp.4, Library
of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20540-9334 U.S.A.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 14:14:55 -0500
From: Daniel Traister <traister@POBOX.UPENN.EDU>
Reply-To: "SHARP-L Society for the History of Authorship, Reading
Subject: Origins of Writing

                 ***CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT***

"The Multiple Origins of Writing: Image, Symbol, and Script"

The Center for Ancient Studies is pleased to announce our Second Annual
Symposium, made possible in part by a grant from the Helen Clay Frick

                March 26th and 27th, 1999

                Rainey Auditorium
                University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology
                and Anthropology
                33rd and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia

Director Holly Pittman writes:

The invention of writing was fundamental to the evolutionary course of
human culture. Even shortly after its invention, its importance was
remarked on in the myths of Sumer and Egypt. In the past two decades
substantial new evidence has lead to a more complex understanding of this
achievement. This conference brings together experts in the earliest
writing systems. For two days they will present and discuss their
findings comparing systems as well as the symbolic and social environments
in which they evolved.


Friday, March 26, 1999


9:00-9:30: Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Holly Pittman, Associate Professor, Department of the History of Art,
University of Pennsylvania, Director, Center for Ancient Studies

9:30-10:15: General Introduction to Theories of Origins of Writing
Peter Damerow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

10:15-10:30: The Iconicity of Writing
Anne-Marie Christin, Professor, University of Paris 7, Director, Centre
d'etude de l'ecriture



10:45-11:30: Early Egyptian writing and its social context
John Baines, Professor of Egyptology, Oxford University

11:30-12:15: The Origins of Writing in Ancient Egypt
Pascal Vernus, Director of Studes, L'Ecole practique des hautes etudes.
4th section.

12:15-1:00: The Icon in the Role of the Classifier: On the Semiotics of

the Egyptian Determinative System.
Orly Goldwasser, Head of the Department of Ancient Near Eastern
Languages and Cultures. The Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Lunch 1-2:30:
Box lunches will be available for those who reserve one in advance.
In Lower Egyptian Gallery

The Near East

2:30-3:15: The Role of Art in the Origins of Writing: Sumer
Holly Pittman

3:15-4:00: The Origins of Proto-Cuneiform
Hans Nissen: Professor, Freie Universitat, Berlin

4:00-4:45: The Origins of Proto-Elamite Script
Robert Englund, Associate Professor, Department of Near Eastern
Languages and Literatures, University of California at Los Angeles

5:30-8:00: Museum Cafe

Saturday, March 27th 1999


Indus Valley

9:15-10:00: Origins of the Indus Script
Gregory L. Possehl, Professor, Dept of Anthropology, University of


10:00-10:45: The Archaeological Background of Writing in Early China
Louisa Huber, Harvard University

10:45-11:30: Comments on the Origin of Writing in China
William G. Boltz, Professor, University of Washington (Seattle)

11:30-12:15: Another Story of the Origin of Writing in China
Victor Mair, Professor, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
University of Pennsylvania

12:15-1:00: Script, Image and Literacy in the Old World and Asia
Piotr Michalowski, George G. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern
Civilizations, Dept. of Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor.

Lunch 1:-2:30
Box lunches will be available for those who reserve them in advance.
In Lower Egyptian Gallery

2: 30-3:15: The Early Scripts of Mesoamerica
John Justeson, Associate Professor, Department of Anthroopology
University of New York at Albany

3:15-4:00: Alphabetology
Barry B. Powell, Bascom-Halls Professor of Classics at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison

4:00-4:45: A Study of Origins
Peter T. Daniels, Independent Scholar, University of Chicago and New
York City.

This symposium is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Sarah Kupperberg at

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