Life at the Margins: Questions in Ancient Near Eastern Social History

The monuments of Nineveh, from drawings made on the spot. By Austen Henry Layard, Esq., D.C.L.

Life at the Margins: Questions in Ancient Near Eastern Social History

Conference organized by Nicholas Reid (ISAW) and Jonathan Valk (ISAW)

Space is limited: RSVP required.

Open to the public.

The history of the ancient Near East is frequently presented as a long sequence of kings and conquests, obscuring the lives of slaves, women, children, and a host of other social groups. Narratives of this kind conceal the breadth of possible social relationships and configurations, as well as de-emphasize other themes and motifs in ancient Near Eastern social history. To arrive at a more nuanced picture of life in the ancient Near East, this workshop investigates questions that tend to fall outside of the usual focus on elites interacting with other elites, drawing attention instead to the lives of marginalized social groups, to broader social issues, and to the problem of politics disentangled from kings.


10:00am - Nicholas Reid (ISAW)
POW: Revisiting Prisoners of War in Early Mesopotamia

10:45am - Coffee Break

11:15am - Jonathan Tenney (Cornell University)
Care and Control of the Babylonian Underclass

12:00pm - Dan Fleming (New York University)
Ancient Near Eastern History De-centered: The Case of Emar 

12:45pm - Lunch Break

2:00pm - Jonathan Valk (ISAW)
“They Enjoy Syrup and Ghee at Tables of Silver and Gold”: Infant Loss in Ancient Mesopotamia

2:45pm - Cornelia Wunsch (SOAS, University of London)
Women of Inferior Status: Injunctions to Prevent Men from Having Contact with Them

3:30pm - Tea Break

4:00pm - Seth Richardson (University of Chicago)
“I am Living in a City of Hunger”: Towards a Hermeneutics of Poverty in Mesopotamia