Upcoming Lecture Series
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World @ NYU.
The Sovereign Assemblage: Sense, Sensibility, and Sentiment in the Bronze Age Caucasus
Adam T. Smith (Cornell University)
April 8, 15, 22, & 29 at 6:00pm
15 East 84th St.
New York, NY
Series Abstract – The Sovereign Assemblage: Sense, Sensibility, and Sentiment in the Bronze Age Caucasus
The modern understanding of political association has centered resolutely on the person of the citizen, whose interactions with other members of the body politic establish and reproduce the possibilities and limits of sovereignty. However, rarely do we interact with one another directly as citizens. Rather, a vast assemblage of things, from ballots and bullets to crowns and regalia to licenses and permits, incessantly intrudes upon our political relations. What role has this assemblage played in the historical formation of our political practices? What principles fundamental to sovereignty does an archaeology of this assemblage reveal?
Taking the narrow isthmus of the Caucasus as their geographic focus, the lectures in this series describe the emergence of a complex set of material assemblages that originated in the Bronze Age yet continue to shape our politics today. The lectures provide a detailed account of the transformation of communities in the Caucasus from small-scale Early Bronze Age villages committed to an ideology of egalitarianism to Late Bronze Age complex polities predicated on radical inequality, organized violence, and a centralized apparatus of rule. These formidable social transformations were made possible by the efficacious operation of three critical assemblages, or machines, that reordered human communities. Each was vital to the operation of the next, forging the polity over time in the articulation of things and persons along three linked dimensions: sense, sensibility, and sentiment. It is by attending to these points of articulation between our things and our selves that we can illuminate the enduring sovereignty of the assemblage.
Monday, April 8: The Sovereignty of Assemblages
Monday, April 15: The Civilization Machine in the Early Bronze Age
Monday, April 22: The War Machine in the Middle Bronze Age
Monday, April 29: The Political Machine in the Late Bronze Age
About the Lecture Series
Michael I. Rostovzteff, a Russian ancient historian, came to the U.S. after the Russian Revolution and taught for many years at Yale University as Sterling Professor of Ancient History. Rostovtzeff’s prodigious energies and sprawling interests led him to write on an almost unimaginable range of subjects. ISAW’s Rostovtzeff series presents scholarship that embodies its aspirations to foster work that crosses disciplinary, geographical, and chronological lines. The lectures will be published by Princeton University Press.