CfP: First International DARE Conference at the University of Cologne

17 May 2011 - 00:00


2nd Call for Papers


Extended Deadline: May 23rd, 2011


In Cordoba more than 800 years ago, Ibn Rushd or – as the Latin scholars called him – Averroes was working on his commentaries on Aristotle, Galen, Ptolemy, and Alghazel, composing and constantly revising his treatises on Philosophy, Medicine, Astronomy, Islamic Law, and Theology. The preserved manuscripts bear witness to the Transformationof Averroes’s works, starting with his own efforts to rewrite them. Their Translation from the original Arabic to Latin and Hebrew and their manuscript Transmission have resulted in a highly convoluted body of texts. The multiple attempts to establish a satisfactory Edition of Averroes’s works - begun during the Renaissance and recommenced with the onset of historical scholarship in the late 19th century - have indeed produced a number of remarkable critical editions and studies. On the whole, however, they made the textual tradition even more complex – not to say complicated.

This is the moment for Cologne, the moment for a fresh attempt at tackling the described complexity by means of the digital medium. The Digital Averroes Research Environment (DARE), initiated by the Thomas-Institut in 2010 and funded by the German Research Foundation, intends to provide all the means for studying Averroes, while at the same time offering a platform to discuss and annotate the texts. The planned conference constitutes the first possibility to explore this web-based repository of digital texts, metadata, manuscript images, and corresponding tools designed to document and make accessible the whole range of testimonies of Averroes’s works – from manuscripts and incunabula to critical editions, and including the Latin, Arabic and Hebrew traditions.

At the same time, the conference provides an opportunity for the International Averroes Commission to hold a meeting and to discuss strategies for future research, especially concerning the critical edition of Averroes’s works, Corpus Commentariorum Averrois in Aristotelem.

Philological issues: Whoever starts to study a text by Averroes is immediately confronted with at least three types of difficulties: First, there are Averroes’s changes of position from one work to another. Secondly, traces of massive rewriting have been detected in virtually every work of Averroes. Thus, one and the same text often exists in two or more versions and may contain several passages that date back to different periods of Averroes’s intellectual career and which have not necessarily been harmonized completely. Thirdly, the historical hazards of reception, translation and transmission have led to a situation where a full picture of Averroes’s thought cannot be gained from the Arabic originals only because too many of these are lost or represent a different – sometimes earlier and less extensive – version than the extant Hebrew and Latin translations. All these difficulties combine to create, in some cases, almost inextricable problems where the translator’s vocabulary, the variant readings, the parallel passages in other works extant in other languages and the changing position of Averroes himself have to be taken into account, or rather: each of these stumbling blocks has to be circumvented with the aid of the others. The conference aims at advancing further into the mesh of these interconnected problems thus shedding new light on the genesis of the Corpus Averroicum.

Technical issues: DARE involves not only problems of mass digitization, deep archival storage, metadata and manuscript mark-up, but also the quite unique case of the different language traditions and the semantic connections of different origins in Averroes’s works. A major question is how scholars could be able to track these connections between traditions, origins, and raw data, on which editions are based, with the aid of the electronic corpus and tools. We will explore the field of collaborative, distributed research environments and basic text work, semantic connections and technologies, as well as interface design and visualization of content, and look at long-term archival strategies and the problems of collaborative work in the age of copyright.

From Cordoba to Cologne – After nearly two years of work on a digital edition and research platform for the study of Averroes we as members of the DARE group would like to enter into a broad discussion with the International Averroes and Digital Humanities community. As indicated, the starting-point of the presented papers should be philological, technical or transdisciplinary: a route of transmission, a particularity of translation, a new technology in digital philology...


DARE - Digital Averroes Research Environment


Universität zu Köln / University of Cologne

Universitätsstraße 22

50 923 Köln / Cologne, Germany