MemberStefan Fisher-Høyrem

I am a researcher on the project Cultural Conflict 2.0 which is headed by Professor David Herbert. The project investigates the development of cultural conflicts, as well as production and reproduction of social order, via social media, collective rituals, city promotion and planning, etc. in different cities in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. My research interests are located at the intersection of modern social and technological history, historiography and theory of history, and secularity studies and political theology. As a historian of modernity, I am interested in the material technological/performative mediation of “modern” concepts of temporality, autonomy, and immanence. I have taught modules in the theory of history, religious studies, culture and communication, worldview pluralism, and philosophy of science. I have lectured on rhetoric, nineteenth-century British history, and theories of secularity and secularisation.

MemberShirley Wajda

Shirley Wajda, most recently Curator of History at the Michigan State University Museum, has spent much of her adult life thinking and writing about the many lives of stuff—the objects humans create, buy, sell, and give, use and alter, save and destroy. Her interdisciplinary research work explores the ways humans understand their lives, their families, and their communities through material and visual culture. Whether a child’s handmade toy or royal scepter or a computer mouse, a physical object may be analyzed to explore how cultural meaning is created and reified, how social relations and social status are clarified and debated, how economies function, how knowledge is secured, exchanged, and distributed. With Helen Sheumaker, Wajda co-edited Material Culture in America: Understanding Everyday Life (2008).  

DepositRedistribution in Aegean Palatial Societies. Redistributive Economies from a Theoretical and Cross-Cultural Perspective

In this article, we address the historical question of why Aegean Bronze Age economies are characterized as redistributive systems and whether it is appropriate to continue to describe them as such. We argue that characterizing the political economies of the Aegean as redistributive is inaccurate and misleading. Instead, we suggest it is more fruitful to describe how specific prehistoric social institutions were used to organize and allocate goods and services and thereby to study how political and economic systems interacted with one another. By examining how Aegean social institutions were constituted and changed over time, we will be in a position to use the prehistoric Aegean to develop and refine general models of political economy.

MemberHeather D Baker

As an Assyriologist who has also trained in archaeology and gained considerable experience of Near Eastern excavation, my primary interest is in combining textual information and material culture in the study of Mesopotamian society and economy. I apply this approach to the study of the Babylonian city and to investigating house and household. I am currently PI of an international project, Machine Translation and Automated Analysis of Cuneiform Languages (MTAAC), funded by SSHRC through the Trans-Atlantic Platform Digging into Data Challenge. Research Interests My work focuses on the social, political and economic history and material culture of 1st millennium BC Mesopotamia, with a particular interest in Babylonian urbanism and the built environment, and in the Neo-Assyrian royal household. My research and publications cover the following topics:

  • urbanism and the built environment
  • religious architecture
  • house and household
  • integration of textual and archaeological data
  • Hellenistic Babylonia (especially the city of Uruk)
  • the Assyrian royal palace and household
  • onomastics and naming practices
  • prosopography
  • slavery
  • society and economy
  • political history
  • cuneiform archives and archival practices


  • 2014–present: Assistant Professor in Ancient Near Eastern History, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto
  • 2009—2014: Senior Postdoc and PI of project “Royal Institutional Households in First Millennium BC Mesopotamia,” Institut fūr Orientalistik, University of Vienna
  • 2003–2009: Postdoc, START Project “The Economic History of Babylonia in the First Millennium BC,” Institut fūr Orientalistik, University of Vienna
  • 1999–2002: Research Associate, State Archives of Assyria Project, University of Helsinki; from July 1999, Editor-in-Charge of The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
  • 1993–1998: Editorial Assistant/IT Assistant (part-time), A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (a British Academy Major Research Project)
  • 1994–1995: Curator Grade G (part-time), Department of the Middle East, the British Museum
  • 1984–1989: Field Archaeologist employed on various excavation and post-excavation projects in England, Cyprus, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq

MemberJody Gordon

Jody Michael Gordon is an Associate Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and an Assistant Director of the Athienou Archaeological Project (AAP). He received his Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, where his dissertation involved an archaeological study of the effects of imperialism on local identities in Cyprus during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In addition to working in Cyprus, Jody has excavated in Tunisia, Italy, Spain, and Greece, and his research interests include Roman archaeology, cultural identity, ancient imperialism, and computer applications in archaeology. See here for more on Jody’s teaching at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

DepositCrafts, Specialists, and Markets in Mycenaean Greece. Introduction

Past models of Mycenaean political economies have overemphasized the role of redistribution, thereby discouraging research into other modes of exchange. New perspectives have effectively questioned the hypothesis that palatial control over the economy was absolute, however. Consequently, it is now possible to imagine significant economic production and exchange outside of palatial purview, especially given the long and well-established history of craft specialization in the Aegean beginning in the Early Neolithic. In other parts of the world, Mesoamerica in particular, archaeological studies of craft specialization in early states have led scholars to infer the existence of regional markets much earlier than expected, leading to a reconsideration of the relationship between political and economic organization.