…r 18-21, American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts [upcoming].
“A Great King Without Rival: The Literary Memory of Sargon of Akkad in 8th-7th Century Assyria as a Background for Nimrod in Genesis 10:8-12.” November 24, 2019, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Conference, San Diego, California.
“Power and Elite Competition in the Neo-Assyrian Empire: Towards a Social Network-Based Model.” November 23, 2019, American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting, San Diego, California.
“Removing shirk and jahiliyyah: ISIS’s Destruction of the Pre-Islamic Past as a Rejection of Nationalism.” November 18, 2017, special panel on “The Past in Peril and the Perils of the Past: Ancient History in Mo…
I am a Ph.D student in the Department of History at Columbia University specializing in the Neo-Assyrian Empire. My dissertation, titled “Power and Elite Competition in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, 745-612 BC,” examines the careers of Assyrian provincial governors and other mid-level officials. Using several thousand official letters which survive from this period, as well as analytical tools borrowed from the fields of social network analysis, organizational communication, and leader-member exchange theory, I examine the social connections, status, and career progression of these officials. Understanding empire as a dynamic process enacting power relationships which are created and maintained through communication, I argue that the expansion of the Assyrian empire in the late eighth century simultaneously expanded the number of officials and made it more difficult for them to distinguish themselves. This resulted in an often-vicious competition for status, a decrease in effective communication, and less effective governance in the seventy years leading up to the empire’s collapse.