Call for Papers: New Relational Approaches to First Millennium Empires

Are you working with networks and first millennium Empires? Interested in writing about the meaning of network studies for the study of identities? Read on, and submit your paper proposal by 30th August 2024!

We are pleased to open this call for papers for volume “New Relational Approaches to Ancient Near East Empires: Using Networks for Micro and Macro Perspectives on Identities” edited by Saana Svärd, Jason Silverman, Antti Lahelma and Tia Sager. Svärd, Silverman and Lahelma are leading the University of Helsinki’s Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires (ANEE).

The book is based on the work of the Centre. This large research group (30-40 researchers) has worked for years on the research topic of how changing empires impact social group identities and lifeways over a millennium. Instead of treating these empires in isolation, we have brought a cross-disciplinary arsenal of methods and scholars, working through the first millennium BCE Empires in the Middle East: Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic, and early Roman/Parthian Empires. 

During the past six years, one of the main challenges for our research group has been to create fruitful and intensively interdisciplinary and collaborative research. A productive solution has emerged in our joint work – a relational approach as codified in the network sciences! The proposed volume focuses on ANEE’s main research question from the perspective of networks. The volume’s novelty is its focus on interdisciplinary discussions between linguistics, historical studies, and archaeology and combining that with the focus on scale: examining what the value of network approaches in the study of identities is both from micro- and macro perspectives. Focus is on the added value of network methods: what is the relationship between networks as methods on the one hand and the historical study of identities and social groups on the other. The volume includes response chapters from various fields as well as reflective chapters to assess critically the uses and promises of network approaches.

With this open call, we encourage scholars working on any of these time periods to submit proposals examining what network approaches can reveal regarding the construction and evolution of identities (understood in a broad sense) and lifeways under the first millennium empires in the ancient Near East. 

Please submit your preliminary title and abstract (max. 400 words) by 30th August 2024 to Saana Svärd. Formal guidelines for submitting the manuscript will be circulated upon acceptance of the proposal. The planned deadline for selected chapters is 1st of June 2025.

We plan to submit the manuscript to Palgrave McMillan series The New Antiquity, hopefully as an open access publication (details to be confirmed later) with a publication date in 2026.

Questions may be directed to any of the editors: Saana Svärd, Jason Silverman, and/or Antti Lahelma.