At the May 2014 annual meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies, left to right: Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English; Lori Khatchadourian, assistant professor of Near Eastern studies; Timothy Murray, professor of comparative literature and English and director, Society for the Humanities
Archaeology and Empire
For archaeologist Lori Khatchadourian, ancient Persia offers more than just an object of cultural study: it’s also a source of political theory. In a recent talk at the American Council of Learned Societies’ annual meeting, she spoke about how ancient Persian texts and art can provide a new way of thinking about imperialism that focuses on the world of physical matter.
“The material world is implicated in the production of modern empires as well, not just the ones from the deep past where we don’t have rich archives to tell us more about them,” says Khatchadourian. “Ancient Persia’s thinkers seem to have thought hard about the relationship between political power and the material world, just as some modern philosophers and social scientists are doing today.”
Khatchadourian is an assistant professor of Near Eastern studies, a Milstein Sesquicentennial Fellow, and the recipient of a 2013 ACLS fellowship. Her ACLS project is entitled “Satrapal Condition: Archaeology and the Matter of Empire.”
Watch her talk here, (Scroll down to 3rd video, “Emerging Themes and Methods of Humanities Research”; Prof. Khatchadourian’s presentation begins at 15:47)