Welcome to Book Launch: Levantine Entanglements
The volume Levantine Entanglements makes a case for writing history in a new key. This launch event will address that argument.
- Welcome, prof. Terje Stordalen, UiO
- On-site presentation by prof. Yvonne Sherwood, Kent, honorary doctor at UiO
- On-site presentation by prof. Nils Anfinset, University of Bergen Museum
- [brief break]
- Online presentation by prof. Erez Ben-Yosef, Tel Aviv University
- Online presentation by prof. Rubina Raja, Aarhus
- On-site summary and outlook, prof. Øystein S. LaBianca, Andrews University
About the Book Launch - History Writing in a New Key
Histories of the early Inner Mediterranean are written in contexts where interested parties have stakes in the historical narrative, aiming to render history “useful” to the present. This is obvious for histories of religious or national entities, but it applies also to histories of civilizations and their cultural or material products and productions. Moreover, ancient Near Eastern history is written based on source records that are anything but complete. Cultural elites leave more historical footprints than common people do. Moreover, source records for history writing are the results academic discovery, reconstruction, interpretation, and validation. The profile of the source record is overlayed with the profiling of the academic community, which has also been oriented towards cultural elites.
All this challenges the credibility of ancient Near Eastern historiography. How can one write histories that can pass as non-partisan, non-elitist, non-Orientalist, and generally inclusive and reliable? This was the starting point for the process behind the volume Levantine Entanglements: Cultural Productions, Long-Term Changes and Globalizations in the Eastern Mediterranean (Equinox, 2021, partly as OpenAccess). The editors propose that a starting point might be found in a combination of global history perspectives, critical philosophy on everyday practice, and a firm focus on the historical agency of local communities (as distinct from the imperial and religious elites that created the available source records). The book launch addresses these problems and the roles Levantine Entanglements could play in future research.
The book launch is supported by the TF research group Bilical Texts, Cultures, and Receptions.