Arabic Manuscripts Workshop (August 23-27, 2021)

Arabic MSS Image


This week-long workshop will be led by leading authorities in the historical, philological and material study of Arabic manuscripts.

Co-organized by Princeton and UCLA, which house the two largest repositories of Islamicate manuscripts in North America, the workshop will equip emerging scholars with the basic tools to conduct research using original handwritten texts in Arabic script.

Over the course of four days, participants will learn the basics of codicology, palaeography, and manuscript production and circulation, and receive exposure to an expansive vision of current debates in Arabic manuscript research. Topics include:

  • anatomy of the codex

  • text blocks, colophons, audition notes, owners' notes, readers’ notes

  • supports, inks, bindings

  • scribes and other craftspeople

  • scripts, canonical and informal; strategies for decipherment

  • technical terminology

  • transmission practices and patterns

  • digital collections; contemporary ethics and best practices

Organizers: Marina Rustow (Princeton) and Luke Yarbrough (UCLA)


Recordings of the Arabic Manuscripts Workshop

Monday 23 August: Overview

Tuesday 24 August: Materiality

Wednesday 25 August: Transmission

Thursday 26 August: Text


Friday 27 August, 10am

Speaker Bios

Application and Registration

The workshop has ended. This information is for reference.

The workshop is free of charge, but full participation is by application only.

  • Twenty applicants will be accepted as full seminar participants who can interact with the instructors in real time.
  • The selection of seminar participants will prioritize ABDs and untenured scholars in whose research Arabic manuscripts play a central role.
  • Seminar participants must commit to attending all five days of the workshop (M–Th 4 hours with a one-hour break between sessions; F 2 hours).
  • If scheduling conflicts prevent you from committing to the entire workshop, do not apply. Instead, register as a webinar observer.

Others may observe the workshop as webinar observers, including those who apply but are not accepted as seminar participants.

  • Webinar observers will be able to pose written questions in the Zoom Q&A as time allows, but will not be able to interact directly with the instructors.
  • If you are interested in being a webinar observer and not a full participant, there is no need for you to apply. You can simply register for the webinar.



For questions about the application process, contact [email protected].

For information about the course content, write to the organizers.