We are happy to announce our first presenter for April, Chana Algarvio, with her presentation “Stone and Ancient Egyptian Book Culture.”
Chana Algarvio has a MA in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto, with a specialization in Egyptology that focused on cross-cultural relations via art practices and iconography. Currently she is a Master of Information candidate at the University of Toronto pursuing Library Science, and Book History and Print Culture. Her research focuses on challenging Western notions and modern bias regarding the book by shedding light on the realities of ancient Egyptian book culture, a culture which was not solely papyrus-based, as is commonly believed.
Her presentation focuses on how stone was a fundamental writing surface in ancient Egypt, and how book historical scholarship, as well as Egyptological scholarship, often neglects stone as a book medium.
She has provided us with the following abstract:
“There is a neglect or hesitancy in modern scholarship—whether in Egyptology or Ancient Near Eastern studies, and especially in book history—to consider stone as a book medium due to the seminal focus placed on portability as a defining characteristic of the book. Based on Western concepts and early-modern bias that ultimately equates codex to book, the notion of portability is ultimately inapplicable to all book cultures and deserves reexamination. Throughout ancient Egyptian history, stone was used as a primary writing surface to communicate with humans and the divine. This presentation will look at the various uses of stone in ancient Egyptian book culture and the literary works inscribed, conceptual frameworks that can be used to better understand how stone can be considered a carrier for the book, and will discuss other ways in which portability can be achieved via non-physical means.”