Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, George G. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Civilization and Languages and Civilizations
On Leave Winter 2023
Current research interests:
I examine language and history, focusing on the texts produced in cuneiform cultures during the third and second millennia B.C.E. My research investigates Sumerian language and literature, multilingualism, ancient modes of translation, scribal and scholarly practices, lexicography, knowledge production and transfer, historiography, and social networks.
I choose to study and teach the ancient Middle East (roughly ancient Iraq and Syria) because of the vast amounts of contextualized data available mostly on hundreds of thousands of clay tablets of various kinds over three thousand years. There is no shortage of research possibilities. My work incorporates the technological tools and methodologies (digital humanities) to clarify and explore these datasets, answering some questions, and raising yet more possibilities.
My current projects investigate the varieties of cuneiform scribal practices, with special focus on the nature of translation as scholarly knowledge and the intersection and influence of various scribal corpora upon each other (for example, the use of lexical texts in literature or commentaries). My work utilizes the numerous Digital Assyriology projects available online (such as the ORACC consortium) and develops tools and technologies for analyzing these datasets.
I am currently transforming my dissertation Bilingual Education and Innovations of Scholarship: The Old Babylonian Word List Izi (Berkeley, 2014; see further here) into a monograph entitled Translation as Scholarship: Language, Writing, and Bilingual Education in Ancient Babylonia. I am also completing critical editions of some 150 lexical tablets, now in a collection in Germany.
History, languages, and cultures of the ancient Middle East (ancient Mesopotamia) from the beginnings of writing (late fourth millennium B.C.E) to the end of cuneiform culture (early first millennium C.E.). Intellectual history and the history of science and medicine in the ancient world. Modern perceptions and memory of the ancient past.