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Seen, not Heard: Composition, Iconicity, and the Classifier Systems of Logosyllabic Scripts - 02-03/03/2017, Chicago (IL, USA)





The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, with generous support from the Arthur and Lee Herbst Research and Education Fund, is pleased to announce the Thirteenth Annual Postdoctoral Symposium: "Seen, not heard: Composition, Iconicity, and the Classifier Systems of Logosyllabic Scripts"


This two-day symposium explores the various ways in which the earliest writing systems — Egyptian, Anatolian, and Maya hieroglyphic systems, Mesopotamian cuneiform, and Chinese writing — exploited visible language to express meaning beyond the spoken word.


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 02-03/03/2017


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Breasted Hall, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago (Chicago, IL, USA)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Ilona Zsolnay (University of Chicago)

INFO: web -




PROGRAMA/PROGRAM/PROGRAMMA:  También aquí/also here/anche qui


Thursday, March 2, 2017

9:00–9:30 AM Opening Remarks by Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute
Introduction by Ilona Zsolnay, Symposium Organizer

9:30–11:50 AM   Session 1: Experiencing Text
Claudia Brittenham, “Text in Context: Hierarchies of Relief in Maya Sculptural Inscriptions”
David Stuart, “Intersections of Text, Image and Object in Ancient Maya Art”

BREAK (10:30–10:50 AM)

Joshua Roberson, “The Iconicity of the Vertical in Egyptian Cosmological (Con-)Texts”
Elisabeth Rieken & Ilya Yakubovich, “Contacts between Scripts in Bronze Age Asia Minor”

LUNCH (12:00–1:30 PM)

1:30–3:00 PM    Session 2: Form & Meaning
Christopher Woods, “The Semantic Basis of Sumerian Writing”
Gebhard J. Selz, “The Obvious and the Hidden: Advantages and Disadvantages of Iconicity in the Early Mesopotamian System”
Andréas Stauder, “Writing To Be Seen: Expressive Dimensions of Writing in Ancient Egypt”

BREAK (3:00–3:20 PM)

3:20–4:50 PM   Session 3: Classifiers & Classifications
Orly Goldwasser, “Animal Classification in the Ancient Near East”
Zev Handel, “The Cognitive Role of Semantic Classifiers in Modern Chinese Writing as Reflected in Neogram Creation”
Guolong Lai, “Reexamining the Roles of the So-called Semantic Classifiers in the Warring States Chu Script”
Reception    5:00–6:00 PM
Friday, March 3, 2017

9:00–10:30 AM   Session 4: Organization
Ilona Zsolnay, “Graphic Classification in the Uruk IV and III Corpus”
Holly Pittman, “Iconicity, Syntax, and Semantics: A Structural Investigation of Pictures in an Early Writing Environment”
Piotr Michalowski, “The Semiotics of Form: Observations on Shape and Layout of Early Cuneiform Tablets”

BREAK 10:30–10:45 AM


10:45–11:15 AM                
Jerry Cooper 
Haicheng Wang


General Discussion

11:15–11:45 AM                



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