[R6303] Assyrian Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches and Navigating from Orientalism to Indigenous and Decolonizing Methodologies

Created by Sargon Donabed
Tuesday, 11/30/21 2:00 pm


Assyrian Studies is a field that was pioneered in the early years of the creation of the Assyrian Academic Society and the similarly named journal in 1986, (later the Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, 1997). Much of the reason for this stemmed from the problematic nature of separate fields that scrutinized the Assyrian heritage from an orientalist perspective. Assyriology, Aramaic/Syriac Studies, Mesopotamian Archeology etc. each one steeped in colonialist and Eurocentric viewpoints on the Assyrian heritage with few if any native voices. The institutional racism and continued marginalization felt by Assyrians in their native homeland in the Middle East reverberates in academia.

Thanks to the foresight and inclusionary principles of the Middle East Studies Association, there has been greater space allotted to Assyrian Studies in recent years. Unfortunately Assyrian Studies and scholars of Assyrian heritage continue to be both direct victims and collateral damage of institutional racism and ethnocentrism.

This roundtable will discuss the various ways in which Assyrian Studies have been marginalized due to orientalizing and colonizing discourse as well as ways in which native agency has been used to offer distinct views to challenge problematic research. Scholars will discuss specific projects and their theoretical and methodological work that has created space for the truly robust and largely untapped field of Assyrian Studies.


Assyrian Studies Association (ASA)


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Sargon Donabed

(Roger Williams University/Assyrian Studies Association)
Sargon Donabed is an associate professor of history at Roger Williams University. He holds a PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto and a MSci from Canisius College in Anthrozoology/Animal Studies. Donabed is...
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant; Organizer;

Andreas Onver Cetrez

(Uppsala University)
Cetrez is Associate Professor in psychology of religion, at Uppsala University. During 2017-2021 he was the coordinator and PI for the Horizon2020 project RESPOND – Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond (www.respondmigration.com)....
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Ruth Kambar

(Assyrian Studies Association)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Joseph Hermiz

(University of Chicago)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Hannibal Travis

(Florida International University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Presenter;

Nashie Shamoon

(Victoria University of Wellington)
Nashie Shamoon is a Master of Arts student in Political Science at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. She is currently researching into the role of persecution within the self-identification of young Assyrians in New Zealand and Australia....
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;