ANE 151

Western outlooks on the Middle East come with many biases, which are particularly poignant in perceptions of women in the region. This is perhaps even more true for the study of the region’s past, which we access primarily through texts that were written largely by men, for men, and about men. In this course, we will learn to observe and think differently about the ancient Middle East by focusing on women’s lives. We will adopt a broad chronological perspective, asking which roles women held at different times and places, and how and why that was so. Through these vignettes we will gain unique insights into the daily life of ancient Near Eastern people of all genders and social backgrounds. Focusing on female agency, mobility, and identities will thus allow us to gain a deeper understanding of social, economic, and cultural processes that took place throughout Middle Eastern history. We will also make use of modern theories to frame these findings into a broader feminist discourse, connecting the ancient world to our own experiences and challenges today.