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Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History

Founded by Van De Mieroop, Marc

Editor-in-Chief: Garfinkle, Steven

Editorial Board: Baker, Heather / Kozuh, Michael / Lauinger, Jacob / Michel, Cécile / Rochberg, Francesca / Sommer, Michael

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2328-9562
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Rethinking the Canon of Ancient Near Eastern Art in the Internet Age

Marian H. Feldman
  • Corresponding author
  • History of Art, Johns Hopkins University, 181 Gilman Hall, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA
  • Near Eastern Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 113 Gilman Hall, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218, Maryland, USA
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Published Online: 2017-06-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/janeh-2016-0002

Abstract

The formation and perpetuation of intellectual canons – as consensually agreed upon corpora considered most significant and representative of a time, place or person – rely heavily on closed systems of knowledge. The bound-paper book exemplifies such a closed system and has been a primary form of constructing and disseminating canons of ancient works. The Internet, however, challenges the very structuring principles of knowledge production inherent in books, offering potentially boundless networks of unorchestrated knowledge bits. As scholars, teachers, and students turn more to the Internet for publication, research, and learning, sharply defined canons face disruption. This article analyzes some of the structuring principles of knowledge production and dissemination in the specific case of ancient Near Eastern art, first considering traditional book-based textbooks. These textbooks follow a model of linear temporal development that unfolds from the first to the last page. It then explores the academic trend toward edited, multi-authored compendia as a concurrent development with the open-ended, networked structure of the Internet. Both vehicles of knowledge production offer more diverse sets of works and multivocality; the Internet in particular permits a radical break from authored and edited narratives. Last, the article considers some of the possibilities, as well as limitations, inherent in the Internet, presenting several existing Internet-based platforms with a specific focus on pedogogy, in order to consider the implications and consequences for knowledge production and dissemination in the Digital Age.

Keywords: ancient Near Eastern art; Mesopotamian art; ancient Near East; Mesopotamia; canon; Internet; knowledge production

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About the article


Published Online: 2017-06-22

Published in Print: 2017-06-27


Citation Information: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 57–79, ISSN (Online) 2328-9562, ISSN (Print) 2328-9554, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/janeh-2016-0002.

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