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AWAS 2750/ARCH 2313

Art and Visual Culture in the Ancient Near East


Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Brown University
Spring 2013


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  • Meets Thursdays 4:00-6:20 pm at Rhode Island Hall Seminar Room in the basement (RIH 008)
  • Instructor: Ömür Harmanşah,
    Assistant Professor of Archaeology and Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies
    Cogut Center for the Humanities Faculty Fellow Fall 2012.
  • E-mail: Omur_Harmansah@brown.edu
  • Office Hours: Wednesdays 1-3 pm at Rhode Island Hall 102

Course Description

Peoples of the Ancient Near East produced a unique corpus of artifacts and monuments, using a remarkable variety of raw materials and technologies of making, and created a diverse culture of visuality and materiality from prehistory onwards. This graduate seminar investigates the art, architecture, and visual cultures from Anatolia to the Iraqi southern alluvium, from the Levant to Iran and the Caucasus shared this common pictorial language in a variety of ways. We will explore not only how modern scholars make sense of pictorial, sculptural and architectural forms of Near Eastern art, but will also investigate various technologies of production. Selected bodies of archaeological, architectural and pictorial evidence from the Near East will be scrutinized while also debating relevant art and architecture historical methodologies and discourses in direct relationship to that material. Conceptual issues such as narrative, representation, perspective, agency, materiality, facture, technology, style, iconography, symbolism, landscape, space, and power will be explored.



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