CAS Annual Symposium Fall 2016

Speaker Biographies

Benjamin Anderson

Benjamin Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University. He studies the visual and material cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and adjacent landmasses, with a particular focus on late antique and Byzantine art and architecture. His first book, Cosmos and community in early medieval art (forthcoming from Yale University Press), analyzes the reception of ancient techniques for imaging the cosmos. The second, Image as oracle from Byzantium to the Baroque, will address the invention of the image of the future and its consequences. In addition to those larger projects, he maintains active interests in the efficacy of forms, non-professional interpreters of ancient art, the urban history of Constantinople, and the later medieval architecture of Anatolia.


Isabel Cranz

Isabel Cranz is an Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her undergraduate education at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg. After graduating with an M.A. from the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she continued her graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University where she received her Ph.D in 2012. Dr. Cranz specializes in the Hebrew Bible within its ancient Near Eastern contexts. Her first book Atonement and Purification: Priestly and Assyro-Babylonian Perspectives on Sin and its Consequences will be published by Mohr Siebeck.


Ann Guinan

Ann Guinan is Consulting Scholar at the Babylonian Section of the Penn Museum and began doing outreach presentations for the Penn Museum in 1988University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Her reconstruction of Mesopotamian omen texts related to ancient psychology and sexual behavior has led to a study of divination, magic, and sexuality in a variety of world cultures. She is a series editor for Magic and Divination in the Ancient World, published by Brill Academic Press, Leiden NL and Boston, USA.


Toke Knudsen

Toke Knudsen is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at SUNY Oneonta. He received his PhD in the History of Mathematics from Brown University in 2008. Dr. Knudsen’s research interests include Sanskrit texts on mathematical astronomy and cosmology, omen literature from ancient India and Mesopotamia, and the reception of Islamic astronomy in India.


Ulla Susanne Koch

Ulla Susanne Koch (Mag.art. 1990, Ph.D. Copenhagen 1999) has received research fellowships and post doc. scholarships from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities and the Carlsberg Foundation and was affiliated with the Carsten Niebuhr Institute, University of Copenhagen between 1992-2003. Her main interests are Mesopotamian science, religion and literature, particularly divination. Her latest book is Conversing with the Gods, a volume in the series Guides to the Mesopotamian Textual Record on the First Millennium (2015).


AnneMarie Luijendijk

AnneMarie Luijendijk is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Princeton University. A scholar of New Testament and Early Christianity and a papyrologist, she is interested in the social history of early Christianity, using both literary texts and documentary sources. Her book Greetings in the Lord: Early Christians and the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (Harvard University Press, 2008) investigates papyrus letters and documents pertaining to Christians in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus in the pre-Constantinian period. Her second book, Forbidden Oracles? (Mohr Siebeck, 2014), entails a previously unknown 5th or 6th century Coptic manuscript entitled “The Gospel of the Lots of Mary” with Christian oracular answers. She currently works on a book called From Gospels to Garbage and examines Christian manuscripts, the development of the New Testament canon, and material culture, with a focus on the Oxyrhynchus papyri.


Rachel Parikh

Rachel Parikh is currently the Calderwood Curatorial Fellow of South Asian Art at Harvard Art Museums and a catalogue specialist of Indian and Islamic arms and armor for the Wallace Collection in London. Prior to her joining Harvard, she was a Mellon Postdoc Curatorial Fellow with the Department of Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a research associate with the Department of Asian Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge and specializes in Islamic and South Asian divination and visual culture.


Philip Peek

Philip Peek is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at Drew University and a Research Associate with the Smithsonian Institution. His research interests include divination, folklore, African religion, psychological anthropology, and the visual and verbal arts of West Africa (especially Nigeria). Dr. Peek’s recent scholarly work includes editing Twins in African and Diaspora Cultures (Indiana University Press, 2011) and Reviewing Reality: Dynamics of African Divination (LIT Verlag, 2013; co-edited with Walter van Beek). He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Lower Niger Bronze Industry.


John Pohl

John Pohl is an Adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Art History at UCLA. He is an authority on American Indian civilizations and has conducted archaeological excavations and surveys in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America. He specializes in the ancient art and writing of the Nahua, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Aztec civilizations of highland Mexico. He has authored and edited numerous books and articles including, most recently, Altera Roma: Art and Empire from Merida to Mexico (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, 2016; co-edited with Claire Lyons).


Robert Ritner

Robert K. Ritner is Professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. He is the author of the books The Libyan Anarchy: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period (Brill Press, 2009), The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice (Oriental Institute, 1993), The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition (Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2011), and over 100 publications on Egyptian religion, magic, medicine, language and literature, as well as social and political history. Among other projects, he is currently working on a study of Libyan dynastic rule in Egypt that traces cross-cultural interactions from the Predynastic through the Saite periods.


Edward Shaughnessy

Edward Shaughnessy is the Lorraine J. and Herrlee G. Creel Distinguished Service Professor in Early Chinese Studies in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He is interested generally in the cultural and literary history of the Zhou period, and is committed especially to the study of its archaeologically recovered textual materials, from oracle-bone and bronze inscriptions through the bamboo-strip manuscripts that have been unearthed in such breathtaking profusion in the last two decades. He recently published a book entitled Unearthing the Changes: Recently Discovered Manuscripts of and Relating to the Yi Jing (Columbia U. Press, 2014), and is now at work on a comprehensive study of the early history of the Zhou Yi or Zhou Changes as well as a history of Western Sinologists’ contributions to the study of Chinese texts.


Adam Smith

Adam Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania and a Curator in the Asian Section of the Penn Museum. His research concerns the emergence and evolution of the Chinese writing system during the late second and first millennia BCE, as well as the early literate activities with which it was associated. He is interested in institutions for scribal training, the link between incipient literacy and the recording of divination, the beginnings of textual transmission, the cognitive consequences of the transition to literacy, and linguistic reconstruction of the early stages of the Chinese language. His publications include “The Chinese sexagenary cycle and the ritual foundations of the calendar” in Calendars and Years II : Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World, edited by John Steele, 1–37. Oxford: Oxbow (2011); “The evidence for scribal training at Anyang.” in Writing and Literacy in Early China, edited by Li Feng and David Branner, 173–205. Seattle: University of Washington Press (2011); and “Are writing systems intelligently designed?” in Agency in Ancient Writing, edited by Joshua Englehardt, 77–93. Boulder: University Press of Colorado (2013).


Peter Struck

Peter Struck is a Professor in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include Greek and Roman mythology, ancient theories of signs and interpretation, philosophy, and divination. He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles, including Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination, ed. with Sarah Iles Johnston (Brill, 2005), and, most recently, Divination and Human Nature: A Cognitive History of Intuition in Antiquity (Princeton University Press, 2016).


Jean MacIntosh Turfa

Jean MacIntosh Turfa is a Consulting Scholar in the Mediterranean Section of the Penn Museum. She has participated in excavations at Etruscan Poggio Civitate (Murlo), ancient Corinth, Dragonby (Lincolnshire), and native and colonial sites in the USA. She has published research on the Etruscan collections of the University of Pennsylvania, Manchester and Liverpool Museums, and the British Museum, and has taught at Liverpool, the University of Illinois (Chicago), Loyola University of Chicago, Dickinson and Bryn Mawr Colleges, the University of Pennsylvania and St. Joseph’s University. She recently published Divining the Etruscan World (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and has edited The Etruscan World (Routledge, 2013) and Women in Antiquity (Routledge, 2016; co-edited with Stephanie Budin).