Individual Scholarship - Seth Richardson

Seth Richardson is a historian of the ancient Near East who works in four different ways. First, his work on the history of Mesopotamia's Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000–1600 BC) primarily addresses political-economic questions. This extends to problems of infrastructural power, the nature of political subjectivity, and the role of institutional claims on bodies; it also entails work on the specific historical problem of the Fall of Babylon in 1595 BC. Second, he engages with theoretical questions of state sovereignty, about legitimacy, territory, rebellion, membership, and state-society epistemologies. Third, Richardson also works on problems related to the history of violence, including war-and-peace, but also on asymmetric, non-state, informal, symbolic, and community practices of violence. Finally, his fourth area of work is as a generalist-comparativist, working on problems as diverse as liver divination, icons and iconicity, animal personhood, ancestor cult, the legal use of divine emblems, the social location of slavery, food security, a disappearing princess, labor value, and ancient historiography. He is an Associate at the Oriental Institute and the Managing Editor of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies since 2011. Prior to this, he was Assistant Professor of Ancient Near Eastern History at the University of Chicago since 2003, having earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 2002. His work is almost entirely available here:

email address:
phone number: 773-702-9592
fax number: 773-702-9853

Curriculum Vita (in Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf)