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Hidden Stories: Books Along the Silk Roads

Hidden Stories Symposium : Global History, Local Networks

Hidden Stories Symposium

The virtual symposium, Hidden Stories: Global History, Local Networks (February 24-25, 2022) celebrates the exhibition Hidden Stories: Books Along the Silk Roads at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, featuring books, scrolls, manuscript paintings, textiles, and objects spanning a 1,000-year history drawn from collections across Ontario, Canada.The symposium examines the global and local aspects of the exhibition, bringing together local (Toronto) and international scholars of the book and the Silk Roads to explore how books where made and used along the vast network of trade routes spanning Asia, Europe, and Africa. Roundtable conversations discuss how these objects were collected, displayed, and imagined over time and explore the collaborative work that brought these books and objects to life in the exhibition.

Click here to view the symposium program. 

Welcome & Intro: The Local and The Global

Welcome and introduction by Hidden Stories co-curator Filiz Çakır Phillip, followed by co-curator Suzanne Conklin Akbari’s talk on “The Local in the Global” exploring the significance of the exhibition to the study of the global Middle Ages and related fields.

Roundtable: Global Judaica: Objects, Books, and Manuscripts

Focus Objects: Ketubah (Royal Ontario Museum), Toledo Bible (Fisher Library), Genesis leaf, China (Royal Ontario Museum)

Panelists: Eva Frojmovic (University of Leeds), Sara Irwin (Royal Ontario Museum), Dorion Liebgott (Beth Tzedec Congregation Museum, Toronto), Noam Sienna (University of St. Thomas), with moderator Adam Harris Levine (Art Gallery of Ontario)

Roundtable: Making and Performing Text and Image: Pothi Format Manuscripts in South and Southeast Asia

Focus Objects: Nepalese pothi (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library), Kamawa-sa (Royal Ontario Museum)

Panelists: Jinah Kim (Harvard University), Alexander O’Neill (University of Toronto), Sarah Richardson (University of Toronto), Trent Walker (Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Stanford University), with moderator Luther Obrock (University of Toronto)

Roundtable: Ethiopia and the Museum

Focus Objects: Ethiopian amulet scroll and Harari Qur’an (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library)

Panelists: Eyob Derillo (British Library), Sana Mirza (Smithsonian Institution), Andrea Myers Achi (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Timothy Perry (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto), with moderator Melissa Moreton (Institute for Advanced Study)

Roundtable: The Americas: Indigenous Knowledge and the Book

Focus Object: Baptismal register from Mexico City (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library)

Panelists: David Fernández (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto), Analú María López (Newberry Library), Dominique Polanco (Virginia Tech), with moderator Suzanne Conklin Akbari (Institute for Advanced Study)

Closing Comments

Concluding talk by Alexandra Gillespie (Principal, University of Toronto Mississauga; Vice-President, University of Toronto and Professor of English and Medieval Studies)

Performance and Conversation

Video performance by musician Afraaz Mulji, inspired by a Hidden Stories manuscript from 16th-century Spain and featuring a monastic chant song. In conversation with and hosted by Amirali Alibhai (Head of Performing Arts, Aga Khan Museum), and Filiz Çakır Phillip (Hidden Stories exhibition co-curator, Aga Khan Museum)

Hidden Stories Symposium : Global History, Local Networks