CFP | Digital Literacies for the Ancient World

Digital Literacies for the Ancient World

A Special Issue of Classics@, the CHS Online Journal

Editorial committee: David Bouvier – Claire Clivaz – Paul Dilley – David Hamidović; chief editor: Paul Dilley

Deadline to forward the articles to the editors: August 31st, 2016

Abstract 300 words: June 1st, 2016



This volume of Classics@, an open-access journal of the Center for Hellenic Studies, aims to explore and analyze how the present digital turn enables a renewed theoretical engagement with multimodal ancient literacies. Cultural transmission in Antiquity was primarily oral, supplemented by images and texts. Texts were read by, at most, 10% of the population. Nevertheless, Classicists first employed the term literacy in the singular, according to its 19th-century definition: the ability to read and write texts (Clivaz, 2013). William Harris employed it this way in his milestone Ancient Literacy (1989). But since the 2000s, the plural form has gained currency, notably in Parker and Johnson’s collection of essays, Ancient Literacies (2009), which explores “new essentialist questions, such as what ‘book’ and ‘reading’ signify in antiquity, why literate cultures develop, or why literate cultures matter” (p. 4). The complex notion of “illiteracy” has also enriched our understanding of ancient literacies (Kraus, 2000; Cribiore 2013, p. 66–69).

Since modernity, almost all the tools for studying ancient sources have reflected the logic and standards of singular literacy and its association with the written (and especially printed) word. Now, emerging digital tools and culture have added urgency to the ongoing revision of  research on ancient literacy. Contributions are invited on a rich variety of relevant topics, including:

  • Multimodal literacies in Antiquity and/or today
  • Digital literacies and their connection to ancient literacies
  • Digital literacies and their implications for the study of Antiquity
  • Digital Pedagogy and teaching Antiquity
  • Comparison of orality in Antiquity and contemporary digital culture
  • Comparison of textuality in Anitiquity and contemporary digital culture
  • Metacritical analysis of standard printed tools used for the study of the ancient world

Submissions on the Ancient Near East, Greece, or Rome (through Late Antiquity) are welcome.  Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words by June 1st, 2016, to Paul Dilley:

Articles should be between 30,000 and 45,000 characters long, including bibliography and footnotes; the deadline for submission is August 31st, 2016. As Classics@ is an open access online publication, authors can link directly to relevant sites, and may update articles after publication.


Quoted references:

Clivaz, C., “Literacy, Greco-Roman Egypt,” in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, First Edition, Roger S. Bagnall, Kai Brodersen, Craige B. Champion, Andrew Erskine, and Sabine R. Huebner (ed.), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, 2013, p. 4097–4098.

Harris, W. V. (1989) Ancient literacy. Cambridge, MA.

Johnson, W. and Parker, H., eds. (2009) Ancient Literacies: the Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome. New York.

Kraus, T. J. (2000) “(Il)literacy in non-literary, papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt: further aspects of the educational ideal in ancient literary sources and modern times.” Mnemosyne 53: 322–342.