Writing as Material Practice grapples with the issue of writing as a form of material culture in its ancient and more recent manifestations, and in the contexts of production and consumption. Fifteen case studies explore the artefactual nature of writing — the ways in which materials, techniques, colour, scale, orientation and visibility inform the creation of inscribed objects and spaces, as well as structure subsequent engagement, perception and meaning making. Covering a temporal span of some 5000 years, from c.3200 BCE to the present day, and ranging in spatial context from the Americas to the Near East, the chapters in this volume bring a variety of perspectives which contribute to both specific and broader questions of writing materialities. The authors also aim to place past graphical systems in their social contexts so they can be understood in relation to the people who created and attributed meaning to writing and associated symbolic modes through a diverse array of individual and wider social practices.
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I personally found the book stimulating for its theoretical approach, which is supported by detailed object-based case studies. Writing as Material Practice collects some of the papers presented at the homonymous conference held in UCL, Institute of Archaeology, in May 2009. This contribution from the conference papers is a great starting point for archaeologists, anthropologists, and any scholar who is interested in writing as a key element in shaping society. The human interaction with its environment and resources is mirrored in the process and outcome of writing practice. I would definitely recommend this book to all those who have an interest in archaeology and material cultures. The impact of the conference and this publication aims at readdressing writing as a social practice, focussing on the material aspects of it and not only on the conventional textual meaning embedded within writing. This book includes several studies distributed on a wide geo-chronological spectrum, each accompanied by colour images.
Javier de Hoz
This book collects the revised and updated versions of seventeen papers presented at the conference Writing as Material Practice: Substance, Surface and Medium, held in May 2009 at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. This book...
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Piquette K. & Whitehouse R. (eds.) 2013. Writing as Material Practice: Substance, surface and medium. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bai
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Published on Dec. 18, 2013