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Text and Image: Transmedial Inquiries into Ancient Near Eastern Cultures

Conference organized by Beate Pongratz-Leisten (ISAW)

In the ancient Near East many monuments and artifacts incorporated both pictorial and written compositions. “Text and Image” has long been a trope in philological and art historical studies inquiring into the mixture or conjoining of the verbal and the visual. Image and language, and discourse and icon, are disjunctive symbolic systems, and there are sense-making operations that do not necessarily take a narrative form. Moreover, when it comes to narrative, it has been long recognized that the migration of a story or message from one medium to another presents cognitive consequences, and that the narrative potential will necessarily be differently actualized. Rather than perceiving of narrative as a linguistic object, this workshop examines narrative in cognitive terms, understanding it in the first place as a mental image realizable in various media. The papers of this workshop will look at the strategies deployed in the construction of narrative, verbal and pictorial; the interface between the pictorial, myth, and ritual; the glorification of the rulership through text and image, and how the interplay between these intensified the intersection with the divine; the autonomy of the visual in ancient Near Eastern art; and techniques of writing and drawing on clay, which required the scholarly professions to develop artistic skills.


9:30am - The Image in its Transmedial Context: Introduction
Beate Pongratz-Leisten (ISAW)

10:30am - From ‘Text and Image’ to ‘Image and Text’
Irene Winter (Harvard University)

11:30am - Coffee Break

11:45am - Presence and Mimesis: the Field of Visibility in the Ancient Near East and the Scholarship of the Iconic Turn
Zainab Bahrani (Columbia University)

12:45pm - Lunch

2:00pm - The Construction of Narrative in the Pictorial and Textual Media
Karen Sonik (Auburn University)

3:00pm - Gloria in excelsis Regi: Ambiguity in the Representations of Darius I
Matthew Waters (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire)

4:00pm - Coffee Break

4:15pm - Who Learned to Draw in Scribal School? Drawings on Scholarly Tablets
Natalie May (Freie Universität, Berlin)

Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp

Please check isaw.nyu.edu for event updates.

On a limited, first-come, first-served basis, ISAW is able to provide assistive listening devices at public events in our Lecture Hall. To ensure an optimal listening experience, we recommend that guests bring their own headphones (with a standard 1/8-inch audio jack) to connect to our devices. Please direct questions, comments, or suggestions to isaw@nyu.edu.