Eikones Summer School (Basel, Sept 4–9, 2016)

eikones Summer School
September 4–9, 2016

Course 1: Iconicity in writing.
Practices and constraints

Complex writing systems—such as the Egyptian, the Cuneiform, the Anatolian Hieroglyphic, the Chinese or the Mesoamerican ones—display a characteristic iconic quality. To various degrees, their signs adopt forms with recognizable visual referents. Crucially, the values of these signs can be motivated in various ways by their visual referents. In a number of different manners, scribes could also deliberately enhance or obscure the iconic potential of signs. The field for this kind of playfulness or iconic manipulation is broad, yet it is constrained by certain rules. The same goes for the general level of iconicity in any complex writing system. The course aims at developing methodological approaches toward identifying the different facets of iconicity as a central phenomenon of complex writing systems. Iconicity is conceived here as an inherently pragmatic and dynamic category. It reveals its potential as a methodological framework at the interfaces between a) the text artefact in which the signs exist, b) the broader semiotics of the (visual) culture to which a writing system is more or less closely related, and c) the cognitive issues associated with sign recognition and reading.

The eikones Summer School invites applications from advanced and graduate students in any of the relevant fields (Egyptology, Assyriology, Sinology, etc.) as well as, more broadly, students with a marked interest in the semiotic, philosophical, cognitive, high-cultural or aesthetic facets of the problem. Familiarity with one complex writing system is obviously an advantage, but not a requirement.

Please send applications as a pdf to Annick.payne@unibas.ch by 30 May 2016.

Full details and description in German at https://eikones.ch/fileadmin/documents/ext/event/2016/summerschool/Ausschreibung_eikones_SummerSchool_Kurs1.pdf

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