The School of History and the Haifa Center for Mediterranean History (HCMH) are glad to invite you to a lecture given by Jessica Goldberg.
Title: "Business Mail: Understanding Everyday Writing in the Medieval Islamic World"
Abstract: The thousands of extant letters found in the Cairo Geniza collections testify to the extent of practical literacy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries–both widespread access to literacy and to postal systems. A closer look at letters written by Jewish merchants shows how norms of politeness developed: ideas of propriety governed not only the language of letters, but also how writing was laid out of the page as well as whether that page was made of paper or parchment. These writers thus participated in the ever-evolving culture of writing in the Islamic world. At the same time, their choices reflect the dynamic relationship of economy and culture.The structure of regional economies and inter-regional transport slowed the spread of paper from the eastern to the central Mediterranean for centuries; then changing ideas about correspondence caused a rapid switch to paper in Sicily and Tunisia in the mid-eleventh century.
Please join us on Zoom on Thursday, April 22nd, at 12:30 (GMT+2).