Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale in Helsinki 2024

The Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires hosts the conference Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale in Helsinki in July 2024. Submission for workshops is now open.

The University of Helsinki and the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires are delighted to invite you to the International Association for Assyriology’s 69th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. The 69th RAI is scheduled from Monday 8 to Friday 12 July 2024. It will take place on the University of Helsinki’s campus in the city centre.

Theme: Politics, Peoples, and Polities in the Ancient Near East

Human social organization is complex and diverse. It involves the development of systems for decision-making in groups (politics), the articulation of collective identities (peoples), and the establishment of mechanisms for the regulation, distribution, and management of goods, property, and people (polities). The ancient Near East offers an immensely rich record of different forms of social organization, from mercantile city-states and expansionist empires to mobile pastoralist confederations and assorted collections of outlaws, with everything in between. Over thousands of years and in varied geographic and ecological settings, these social forms underwent constant processes of reform, renegotiation, and reinvention. 

The 69th Rencontre is interested in how different people in the ancient Near East navigated the challenges of life in groups. How did people think about the societies they established and about the possibilities for different ways of doing things? How did certain groups seek to preserve the status quo, and how did others challenge it? How do the values and histories of our own, present-day societies distort our understanding of the societies of the ancient Near East?

To advance scholarship on the politics, peoples, and polities of the ancient Near East, we invite scholars across disciplinary boundaries to engage with these and related questions.

Workshop submission now open

We welcome submissions that relate directly to the theme of the conference, as well as on other subjects. We strongly encourage workshop organizers to issue open calls for contributions and we only accept closed sessions in extraordinary circumstances (please apply to the committee). We will announce the names of open workshops (once they are accepted) in the call for papers.

Workshops are to consist of six 30-minute lecture slots. The first or last of these slots can be reserved for introductory remarks or a general discussion. Workshops can be expanded as necessary by further blocks of three 30-minute slots, subject to the approval of the organizing committee.

Proposals should include the following information

  • name(s) of the organizer(s)
  • title of the workshop
  • description of the purpose of the workshop
  • a preliminary list of speakers and proposed papers

Workshop proposals must be submitted by email to before 30 November 2023. Workshop organizers will be notified of acceptance or rejection of their proposal by 15 December 2023.

Submission for paper and poster abstracts (200–400 words) will open on 1 January 2024.