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Near Eastern Studies Symposium

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cuneiform Studies and Ancient Societies: The Impact of the Work of Piotr Michalowski
Friday, April 15, 2016
9:00 AM-8:00 PM
Kuenzel Room Michigan Union Map
The Department of Near Eastern Studies is proud to present: "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cuneiform Studies and Ancient Societies: The Impact of the Work of Piotr Michalowski," a symposium honoring the career of NES Professor Piotr Michalowski, George G. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

This event is a celebration of our colleague Piotr Michalowski and his contributions to Near Eastern studies. In the field of Assyriology, with its increasing specialization and proliferation of subfields, Michalowski’s past, current, and future work has spanned an impressive range of topics and methodologies. The sum of this work has prompted an occasion to examine the connections between cuneiform studies and neighboring disciplines and to put several different subfields within Assyriology itself into dialogue. Topics of the papers range from music, to language, to cultural memory – all dimensions of Michalowski's contributions.

9:00 Breakfast

9:30 Keynote Address
Gary Beckman, University of Michigan
Forward into the Past: Mesopotamian Studies Since 1970

10-12 Sumerian Language and Literature
Chair: Chris Woods, University of Chicago

Piotr Steinkeller, Harvard University
Sumerian City Laments: Historical or Not Historical?

Steven Garfinkle, Western Washington University
mu Pi-ut-ur lugal An-ar-burki ma-da mar-tu mu-hul “The year Piotr, king of Ann Arbor, defeated the land of the Amorites.” Frontier strategy in the Ur III period: a view from the inside

Paul Delnero, The Johns Hopkins University
What is a Sumerian Literary Text?, Or Why a History of Mesopotamian Religion should be written (and a History of Sumerian Literature should not)

Gonzalo Rubio, Penn State University
On the Many Lives of Sumerian

Jay Crisostomo, University of Michigan
Sumerian – Not the Language your Diviner is Looking for

Respondent: Steve Tinney, University of Pennsylvania


1-3 Assyriology: Language and History
Chair: Matt Stolper, University of Chicago

Niek Veldhuis, UC Berkeley
Mining the Cuneiform Corpus

Peter Machinist, Harvard University
Akkadian in the First Millennium BC: The View from Israel and Other Western Outposts

Gina Konstantopoulos, NYU-ISAW
Disgraced Pipers and Animal Orchestras in Mesopotamia

Jerrold Cooper, The Johns Hopkins University / UC Berkeley
Female Troubles: Masculinity at the Creation

Respondent: Martha Roth, University of Chicago

--Coffee Break--

3:30-5:30 The Broader Ancient World
Chair: David Owen, Cornell University

Tom Trautmann, University of Michigan
Piotr and the Elephants

Jennifer Finn, Marquette University
Some Unanswered Letters from the Ancient World

Geoff Emberling, University of Michigan
Collective Memory or Public Acquiescence? Insights into the Ancient World from Communist Poland

Henry Wright, University of Michigan
An Archaeologist looks at Ur III

Terry Wilfong, University of Michigan
Noise in Ancient Egypt

Respondent: Nicole Brisch, University of Copenhagen

5:30 Final Remarks
Norman Yoffee, University of Michigan
The life and times and education of Piotr M

--Reception to Follow--

Organizers: Gary Beckman (, Laura Culbertson (, Gina Konstantopoulos (
Building: Michigan Union
Event Type: Conference / Symposium
Tags: Anthropology, Classical Studies, History, Literature, Middle East Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Near Eastern Studies