W7: Visualizing Emotions and Senses in the Ancient Near East

Emotions and senses are depicted in many different ways in the ancient Near East. They are however not always explicit, and their function in text and image is highly debated in research. The aim of this workshop is to discuss some examples of emotion and senses in order to define their cultural character in the ancient Near East.

This one-day workshop consists of two panels:

W7a. The Visualization of Emotions in the Ancient Near East / Die Darstellung von Emotionen im Alten Orient
Organizer: Sara Kipfer (Universität Bern)
Contact: sara.kipfer@theol.unibe.ch

Die bildlichen Darstellungen von Emotionen in der Antike sind auf den ersten Blick nicht offensichtlich und nur schwer fassbar. Dies darf aber nicht darüber hinwegtäuschen, dass zahlreiche Darstellungen von Situationen bzw. Motivkonstellationen emotional aufgeladen sind: die Darstellungen ritueller Totenklage, erotische Szenen, Verachtung, Aggression und Gewalt (meist im Zusammenhang mit Kriegsdarstellungen), Triumph, Freude u.a.m. Die grundlegenden Fragen dieser Session sind, inwiefern diese Darstellungen Aufschluss über den Umgang mit Gefühlen wie beispielsweise rituelle Inszenierungen von Emotionen und Verhaltensweisen geben und wie die dahinter stehenden Emotionskonzeptionen mit anthropologischen Grundeinsichten über Körpervorstellungen im Alten Orient in Verbindung zu setzen sind. Diese Fragen sollen im interdisziplinären Gespräch anhand konkreter Beispiele diskutiert werden.

W7b. Representing the Senses in the Ancient Near East: Between Text and Image
Organizers: Ainsley Hawthorn (Yale University) and Anne-Caroline Rendu Loisel
(Geneva University)
Contact: anne-caroline.rendu@unige.ch

The sound of the drum, the light of the sun, the scent of the sacrifice. The ancient world was rich with sensation. Over the past two decades, the field of sensory studies has garnered increasing attention from scholars in the humanities.
Sensory studies prioritize the human experience of sensation and examine how people have understood the senses differently from one culture to another and in various historical periods. This workshop will highlight the Assyriological research that is currently being conducted in this emerging field.
We invite participants to explore how the cultures of the ancient Near East represented sensory phenomena, not only in languages and literature, but also in art and iconography. Drawing on the evidence from textual and artistic sources, we will consider questions like: How did the people of the ancient Near East understand their senses to operate? What types of sensory phenomena are represented in the sources and why? Can representations of the senses in art shed light on the literary evidence, or vice versa? We seek to present a variety of approaches to this topic and welcome proposals that take philological, literary, art historical, or other perspectives; that address the means of sense perception (e.g. vision, hearing, touch) or the objects of perception (e.g. light, noise, texture); and that examine the senses within religious, political, or social contexts.