All posts by Saana Svärd

Report on the “Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East”

The “Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East”1 took place in Barcelona February 1-3, 2017. The workshop was hosted by IPOA, the Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies of the University of Barcelona (Spain), and organized in cooperation with the Centre of Excellence in “Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions” (University of Helsinki, Finland). Organizers were Agnès Garcia-Ventura (IPOA, University of Barcelona) and Saana Svärd (University of Helsinki). The workshop was a continuation of the “First Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East.” The first workshop was organized by the same two scholars at the University of Helsinki in October 2014 and hosted by the Centre of Excellence in “Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions.”

gender BCN 2017_group photo

The aim of both meetings was to discuss different methodological and theoretical approaches to gender within the framework of ancient Near Eastern studies (including archaeology, art history and text studies) and to enable fruitful dialogue between these approaches. Moreover, for this second workshop, colleagues from neighboring disciplines were also encouraged to submit proposals, in order to enrich these conversations further. As a result, the second workshop included colleagues from the disciplines of Assyriology, Archaeology, Egyptology, Phoenician and Punic studies, and Biblical studies (See the full program: http://www.ub.edu/ipoa/Gender_bcn.pdf). Continue reading Report on the “Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East”

Svärd: Women and Power in Neo-Assyrian Palaces

The volumSAAS23e has two main aims. First, it presents the available textual evidence relating to women in the palaces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 930-610 BCE).  Second, it evaluates the power relationships that these women were engaged in.

Power in general and women’s power in particular has been understood mostly in a hierarchical way in earlier research on Mesopotamian women. Hierarchical power structures were important in Mesopotamia, but other kinds of power structures existed as well. In addition to discussing hierarchical power relationships, this study  draws attention to heterarchical power relations in which women were engaged in Neo-Assyrian palace milieu.

Heterarchical power relations include power relations such as reciprocal power, resistance and persuasion. Although earlier research has certainly been aware of women’s influence in the palaces, this study makes explicit the power concepts employed in previous research and further develops them using the concept of heterarchy. Continue reading Svärd: Women and Power in Neo-Assyrian Palaces