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Call for Papers
Limited Sources, Boundless Possibilities: Textual Scholarship and the Challenges of Oral and Written Texts
A Special Issue of RMN Newsletter (December 2013)
Textual scholarship is an umbrella term for disciplines that deal with describing, transcribing, editing or annotating texts and physical documents. It has traditionally consisted of fields such as textual criticism, genetic criticism, analytical bibliography, stemmatology, paleography and codicology. As an interdisciplinary field of research, textual scholarship brings together historians, folklorists, literary critics, linguists and musicologists that are interested in the genesis, transmission and variation of oral or written texts.
The objectives and methods of textual scholars vary a great deal, but they share common challenges of interpreting and representing limited sources - fragmentary documents, discontinuous recordings, fading voices, incoherent manuscripts and insufficient or contradictory data on the contexts of producing and transmitting texts.
We would like to enhance interdisciplinary discussion and to provide researchers with a better methodological understanding of the challenges of limited sources in editing oral and written texts and of studying their transmission and variance in a special issue of RMN Newsletter, the international open-access bi-annual publication of Folklore Studies / Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki (ISSN 1799-4497). Our publication promotes cross-disciplinary discussion on diachronic, comparative and source-critical treatments of cultural expression across diverse and intersecting disciplines:
The special issue on textual scholarship calls for both research articles (up to 10 pages + works cited) and reviews (up to 5 pages + works cited). The research articles will be peer reviewed. The articles may treat various materials (e.g. manuscripts, folklore, letters, diaries, recordings) and cover themes such as:
- tracing processes of textualization in oral poetry
- lost sources
- the scholarly editing of incoherent sources
- annotating gaps: interpreting illegible, invisible or inaudible sections
- limited sources in stemmatalogy
- challenges of historical and comparative methods in folklore studies
- describing obscure ethnomusical data
- digitalizing and encoding fragmentary texts
- overlaps and limitations in digital editions and databases
The themes may be discussed through concrete case studies or as broader comparative investigations. Theoretical discussions are also welcome.
If you are interested in participating in this international and cross-disciplinary discussion, please submit a 500 word abstract of your proposed contribution, with your name, affiliation and contact information to the issue editors Karina Lukin, University of Helsinki firstname.lastname@example.org or Sakari Katajamäki, Finnish Literature Society email@example.com
Deadline for proposal submission is Monday, January 15th, 2013. The completed 3-10 page submission (+ works cited) will have a deadline of May 1st, 2013.
Further information on the newsletter's editorial criteria and author guidelines can be found at:
For further information on textual scholarship: