Permanent Impact of Transient Documents: I. International Ephemera Studies Symposium

“Ephemera”—the plural form of “ephemeron”—is derived from the Greek word ephemeros meaning “lasting only one day”. Maurice Rickards, who—as an outcome of the ephemeral materials that he gathered for his collection and the research which he undertook throughout the 20th century—paved the way for the recognition of ephemera studies as an emergent academic discipline, defined “ephemera” as “the minor transient documents of everyday life.” Several printed documents like newspapers and magazines, cinema tickets, theater programs, leaflets, broadsides, posters, music sheets, chocolate cards, fez labels, calendars, business cards, match boxes, postcards, restaurant menus and even seed packets are all assessed within the scope of the transiency of printed ephemera. Despite the fact that this impermanence may have predicted the ultimate outcome of ephemera as “rubbish”, today these documents are all regarded as valuable, permanent and significant reference guides that are waiting to be discovered since they reveal the noteworthy economic, cultural, political, social and technological developments and changes of the time periods to which they belong.

The 1st International Ephemera Studies Symposium, which will be organized for the first time in Türkiye, is going to assess the relevant and significant researches and studies that have been undertaken both in Türkiye and abroad up to the present time. It will also bring together the academics, collectors, curators and experts from different disciplines who have been actively participating in ephemera studies. The purpose of the symposium will be to provide a multidisciplinary perspective about ephemera studies by presenting a methodological, analytical and classifying approach as well discussing both national and international efforts which have been made in different disciplines. By the end of the symposium, in consequence of the communication and collaboration network which will be established among the participants, the common activities that will be carried out in the future are going to be prioritized and designed. In this way, this pioneering event is going to have a very significant role in the institutionalization of ephemera studies in Türkiye on a sustainable, international and academic platform.

The symposium will be organized on 25th-27th April 2018 at Neva Palas (Ankara) under the auspices of Koç University Vehbi Koç Ankara Studies Research Center (VEKAM), and with the contributions of Assist. Prof. Dr. Bahar Gürsel and Middle East Technical University’s (METU) Department of History. The international scientific committee of the symposium has decided to concentrate on 6 different themes during the event.

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