ETC is pleased to present its first series of Online Reading Group meetings, which will be focused on Silence. The meetings last for 1h 15mins and are led by a graduate student or early career researcher. The first 25 to 30 minutes are devoted to a presentation by the speaker, and the following 45 to 50 minutes are reserved for open discussion. Each speaker will focus on a specific phenomenon related to the topic within the context of a specific culture; they may provide a selection of texts (with translation) and a short list of recommended readings (no more than three articles or book extracts) ideally one week before the session.

A special seminar will be held on 16th December, led by two senior academics. The discussion that follows aims to tie together the issues raised over the course of the previous weeks.

The programme can be found below; abstracts of each talk can be found in sub-pages, accessible via the sidebar.

The meetings will be held on Zoom, at 3:00PM (UK time), except for the special seminar (see times below). If you are interested in participating, please contact us at


Week 2 (22nd October)

Dr Ronald Blankenborg (Nijmegen)

Visible Silence: Choosing Between Punctuation and Phonology

Week 4 (5th November)

Dr Ilaria Cariddi (Firenze)

“Being Quiet is Useful”: Socio-cultural Perspectives on Silence in Ancient Egyptian Wisdom Literature

Week 5 (12th November)

Dr Domenico Giordani (Oxford)

The Goddess of Silence: The Rituals of Tacita Muta

Week 6 (19th November)

Dr Avital Rom (Cambridge)

The Broken Zither, the Sage, and the Deaf: Silence, Hearing, and Deafness in Early Chinese Texts

Week 7 (26th November)

James Parkhouse (Oxford)

Silence in Old Norse literature

Week 8 (3rd December)

Dr Bernardo Ballesteros Petrella (Oxford)

Noise, Silence and the Gods in Near Eastern and Early Greek Narratives

Week 10 (16th December): Special Seminar

Prof. Michal Ornan-Ephratt (Haifa) (11am–12:30pm)

Silence as Language

Prof. David Le Breton (Strasbourg) (1:45pm–3:15pm)

Spiritualities of Silence