Early Text Cultures Project: Online Reading Group on ‘Silence’, Call for Speakers

Naked male angel sat with his finger over his mouth as to say 'shh'

Wellcome Library no. 44559i,



ETC is pleased to present the first series of fortnightly Online Reading Group meetings, which will be focussed on Silence.

We invite contributions for a 25-minute presentation, potentially considering one or more of the following aspects:


1. Society & Language: cultural codification of silence; philosophical speculation on silence; implicatures of silence in communication; social implications of rules binding speakers to silence and means to silence an interlocutor.


2. Religion: ritual silence; language of the gods; gods of silence and their cults; divine silence.


3. Literature & Rhetoric: silence in poetry & performance; regulation of pauses in verse; silence in rhetorical practice; rhetorical figures of silence (aposiopesis, paralipsis, anapodoton and prosiopesis).


4. Pathology: cognitive silence; investigate the mechanisms of silent reading and inner dictation; aphasia and mutism; post-traumatic silence and the link between genocide and silence.


There will be four sessions of up to 1.15h led by four different speakers (25-30mins presentation + 45-50mins discussion). Each speaker focusses on a specific phenomenon related to the main topic within the context of a specific culture; each speaker may provide a selection of texts (with translation) and a short list of recommended readings (no more than three articles or book extracts) ideally one week before the session.


Submission deadline is Sunday 11th October (week 1).


The Online Reading Group will kick off in week 2 of Oxford Michaelmas term (19-25th October), and will meet every two weeks (exact date and time TBD).


If you are interested, please send an abstract (200 words max) to earlytextcultures.ox@gmail.com.

For more medieval matters from Oxford, have a look at the website of the Oxford Medieval Studies TORCH Programme and the OMS blog!