Conference program: "The Strange and the Familiar: Identity and Empire in the Ancient Near East" (Aug 23-24)
The international conference "The Strange and the Familiar: Identity and Empire in the Ancient Near East" will take place at the University of Helsinki on August 23–24, 2019. The location of the conference is Porthania P673, Yliopistonkatu 3. The conference is generously hosted by the Centre of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions (CSTT), the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires (ANEE), and the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME).

Registration is now open. The event is free of charge.

Friday, August 23

9:10 – 9:30 - Gina Konstantopoulos; University of HelsinkiDefining Others, Defining Ourselves: Constructing Identity in Empire

Center and Periphery in the Late Bronze Age:

9:30 – 10:15: Müge Durusu-Tanrıöver, Bilkent UniversityThe Identities of an Empire: The Case of the Hittite Empire and its Borderlands

10:15 – 11:00: Phillip Strosahl, University of PaviaIdentity and Place: The Use of Ālu and Mātu to Define People in Syria Under the Hittite Empire

11:00 – 11:15: Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:00: Jacob Lauinger, Johns Hopkins UniversityImperial and Local: Audience, Identity, and the Idrimi Inscription

12:00 – 12:45: František Válek, Charles UniversityForeigners and Religion at Ugarit

12:45 – 2:00: Lunch Break

Assyria and Babylonia
Moderator: Caroline Wallis, University of Helsinki

2:00 – 2:45: Jonathan Valk; Universiteit LeidenAn Empire State of Mind: Domesticating the Other in the Assyrian Empire

2:45 – 3:30: Johannes Bach; University of HelsinkiOn the Use of Similes in MA Royal Texts

3:30 – 4:00: Coffee Break

4:00 – 4:45: Ben Dewar, University of BirminghamThe Burning of Captives in the Assyrian Royal Inscriptions and Early Neo-Assyrian Conceptions of the Other

4:45 – 5:30: Eva Miller, University College LondonDrawing Distinctions: Assyrians, Enemies, and Others in Neo-Assyrian Art

7:00: Dinner for Conference Participants


Saturday, August 24:

Assyria and Babylonia
Moderator: Johannes Bach; University of Helsinki

9:00 – 9:45: Güzin Eren, Boston UniversityImperial Identity by Architecture: The Fortifications of Sardis in the Late 7th and 6th centuries BCE

9:45 – 10:30: Marta Lorenzon and Melanie Wasmuth, University of HelsinkiWhere is the Border? Shifts in the South-Western Fringe Zone of the ANE Empires in the 1st Millennium BCE

10:30 – 10:45: Coffee

10:45 – 11:30: John P. Nielsen, Bradley UniversityAssyrian Engagement with Chaldea and the Emergence of Chaldean Power in Babylonia

11:30 – 12:15: Michael Kozuh, Auburn UniversityThe Roving Other: Shepherds, Ungovernable Spaces, and Imperial Authority

12:15 – 1:30: Lunch

Successors of Mesopotamia: Later Empires and Biblical Traditions
Moderator: Jason Silverman, University of Helsinki

1:30 – 2:15: Silvia Balatti, Kiel UniversityBeing Yauna: the Limits of Imperial Integration at the Western Margins of the Achaemenid Empire

2:15 – 3:00: Jennifer Finn, Marquette UniversityMaking a Third Space in Susa: Achaemenid Displays of the Periphery in the Center

3:00 – 3:30: Coffee

3:30 – 4:15: Ehud Ben Zvi, University of AlbertaThe Art of Bracketing Empire Out and Creating Parallel Worlds: The Case of late Persian Yehud

4:15 – 5:00: Hanna Tervanotko; McMaster University“You Must Now Learn to Imitate the Abhorrent Practices of those Nations:" Ancient Jewish Texts and Polemics against Divination

5:00 – 5:45: Martti Nissinen and Saana Svärd; University of HelsinkiResponse and Final Discussion


For further information and questions, please contact Gina Konstantopoulos: