Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Third Annual Leon Levy Lecture

Thursday, November 5, 6:00 pm
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

ISAW is a center for advanced scholarly research and graduate education, intended to cultivate comparative and connective investigations of the ancient world. It features doctoral and post- doctoral programs, with the aim of training a new generation of scholars who will enter the global academic community and become intellectual leaders. In an effort to embrace a truly inclusive geographical scope while maintaining continuity and coherence, the Institute focuses on the shared and overlapping periods in the development of cultures and civilizations around the Mediterranean basin, and across central Asia to the Pacific Ocean.

*The Historian in the Future of the Ancient World: A View from Central Eurasia

Nicola Di Cosmo
Henry Luce Foundation Professor of East Asian Studies
Institute for Advanced Study

*Third Annual Leon Levy Lecture
Thursday, 6:00 pm
November 5, 2009*

Oak Library
ISAW Building
15 East 84th Street
New York, NY 10028


Much of the making of the ancient world has to do with the movement of peoples, and with the languages, genes, and material cultures they carried from place to place. Central Eurasia from the Pontus to the Baikal was a major theater of population movements from the dispersal of the Indo-Europeans to the migratory waves of the early Middle Ages. While often met with skepticism, the recent encounter between molecular biology and genetic studies with linguistics, archaeology, and physical anthropology has heralded radical changes in the study of the ancient world, if nothing else because all these disciplines have consequently been thrown into closer contact with each other. A dialogue has developed among geneticists, linguists, archaeologists and anthropologists over the past twenty-some years that, while sometimes dissonant and acrimonious, has produced ideas and data that may prove useful for historical research. How should the historian of the ancient world view this development? Does the historian have a role to play? This question will be discussed especially in relation to the study of ancient Eurasian nomads.

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