This volume assembles leading Near Eastern art historians, archaeologists, and philologists to examine and apply critical contemporary approaches to the arts and artifacts of the ancient Near East.
The contributions in the volume, which include a comprehensive first chapter by the editor and twelve paired chapters (each of which explores a key theme of the volume through a specific case study), are divided into six sections: Representation, Context, Complexity, Materiality, Space, and Time | Afterlives. A number of sub-themes and questions also thread through the volume as a whole: how might art historical, archaeological, anthropological, and philological approaches to the Near East complement and inform each other? How do word and image relate? And how might the field of Near Eastern studies not only adapt and apply approaches developed in other fields but also contribute to critical contemporary discourses? The volume is unified both by the themes that thread through it and by the comprehensive first chapter in the volume, which explores the status of Near Eastern arts and artifacts as simultaneously non-Western and ancient and as neither of these, and which provides a larger theoretical framework for issues addressed in the volume as a whole.