Book Art by Dorina
                      Miller Parmenter © 1996

@ Syracuse University

No comprehensive survey of iconic books and texts has traced their development and influence from ancient to modern times and compared their roles in multiple cultures and religious traditions. The aim of the Iconic Books Project at Syracuse University is to inaugurate such an investigation. Since 2001, James Watts and Dorina Miller Parmenter have conducted basic research to catalog, analyze and describe the symbolic or “iconic” uses of books and other texts.

About Iconic Books
Iconic Books Blog
on Iconic Books
Symposium 2010
Symposium 2009
Symposium 2007

They have been joined by dozens of scholars who have participated in symposia on Iconic Books and in the programming of SCRIPT, the Society for Comparative Research on Iconic and Performative Texts (see links at left). Their interdisciplinary discussions produced papers that  published in the journal Postscripts in 2011 and as a volume of essays, Iconic Books and Texts, by Equinox in 2013.

The project's collecting and cataloguing activities aim to do basic research, but its study of iconic books has implications for understanding phenomena as diverse as the marketing of e-books, political ceremonies, legal conflicts over religion, artistic and media depictions of books, the reproduction of scriptures, the architecture of libraries and museums, radical religious uses of media images, the relationship between image and text, the role of religion in law, and the historical influence of “book religions.”