ISAW Hosts “Future Philologies: Digital Directions in Ancient World Text” Conference

By Patrick J. Burns

The ISAW Library hosted Future Philologies: Digital Directions in Ancient World Text, a conference organized by Patrick J. Burns, David Ratzan, and Sebastian Heath on the intersection of research on historical languages and computer science on April 20. The conference brought together scholars working on a diverse range of languages—Latin, Greek, Coptic, Persian, Arabic, Classical Chinese, Sumerian were all represented on the program—to discuss the effect that digitization and the ability to analyze massive amounts of text is having on philological research and teaching. The event was co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Humanities, the NYU Division of Libraries, NYU’s Center for Ancient Study, and the NYU Department of Classics.

Two things immediately stand out about the program, both of which capture the deeply interdisciplinary and interdepartmental aims of the conference: first, the diversity of historical languages covered and, second, the evolving nature of the collaboration between humanities disciplines and computer science. In both its linguistic range and its incorporation of a digital approach to humanistic inquiry, the conference reflected in miniature core strengths of ISAW’s mission, namely a commitment to a wide geographic and broad chronological scope in defining the ancient world as well as a commitment to promote innovative research in our field’s digital platforms and communities.

Future Philologies joins the Linked Ancient World data workshops and last fall’s Digital Publication in Mediterranean Archaeology: Current Practice and Common Goals in demonstrating the support of the Library, Digital Programs, and the ISAW faculty to digital and computational humanities at ISAW. This programming continues with our next conference Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean later this year on October 26.

A more thorough description of Future Philologies, including the complete program for the conference, can be found through the link here