Assistant Professor of Archaeology and Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies:
Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Phone: +1 401 863 6411
Ömür Harmanşah works in the field of archaeology, architectural history and material culture of the Near East. He has written on cities, urban space and architectural technologies in ancient Turkey, Iraq and Syria. His academic interests involve intersections of place and landscape, bodily performance, local knowledge, collective memory, and political ecology. He is currently working on a cultural biography of rock reliefs and spring monuments in Anatolia and a critical archaeology of place.
Ömür Harmansah specializes in the archaeology of the ancient Near East, with emphasis on Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia. Born and raised in Turkey, Ömür studied architecture and architectural history at the Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey), and received his PhD from University of Pennsylvania in the History of Art (2005). He previously taught at Reed College (Portland, OR) for three semesters in 2005-2006. He joined the faculty at Brown in 2006, and since then, he has been teaching at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World and the Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies. At Brown he is also affiliated with the Department of Anthropology, Department of Theater Arts and Performance Studies, and the program in Middle East Studies.
Harmansah currently directs the Brown University funded Yalburt Yaylasi Archaeological Landscape Research Project, a diachronic regional survey project addressing questions of place and landscape in Konya Province of west-central Turkey. He is the author of Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East that was published by Cambridge University Press (2013). He was Faculty Fellow at the Cogut Center for the Humanities in Fall 2012. He is spending the 2013-2014 academic year on sabbatical as a Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, working on a second monograph entitled Place, Memory, and Healing: An Archaeology of Anatolian Rock Monuments, which will be published by Routledge (2014). He also serves as a Commissioner at the State of Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission.
Having been trained as an architect and architectural historian, my research has always been involved with questions of space and spatiality, particularly the social production of space in the ancient Near Eastern world. I am however increasingly interested in questions of place and landscape, especially how archaeological and ethno-historical projects study culturally meaningful places. I am currently working on a monograph that attempts to develop what I call "an archaeology of place".
Archaeological research is usually dependant upon rigorous fieldwork. In the summer of 2010, I initiated the Brown University based and funded Yalburt Yaylasi Archaeological Landscape Research Project, a five-year diachronic regional survey project in West-Central Turkey, in the environs of a Hittite (Late Bronze Age) sacred pool complex and dam. I am also currently involved with projects at Gordion and Ayanis in Turkey. At Gordion, a Phrygian site in Central Anatolia, I have been working on the Early Iron age building technologies and more recently the final publication of Middle Phrygian architecture from the site. At Ayanis, I have worked on the use of stone in the architecture of this Urartian city, located on the Eastern shore of Lake Van in Eastern Turkey. Starting in 2007, I have become affiliated with an ethnoarchaeological project at Ayanis, where I took on the task of documenting architectural traditions and building technologies at the nearby village of Ayanis. My first monograph entitled Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East was published by Cambridge University Press in March 2013.
PhD in History of Art, MA in Architectural History, B. Architecture
2013-2014 Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship. The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of Religious Studies.
Fall 2012 Cogut Center for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship. Brown University.
2012- Department of Theater Arts and Performance Studies, Graduate Field Faculty, Brown University
2012 International UTRA (Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award) supervising Undergraduate Student Adam Bouché. Office of the Dean of College, Brown University.
2010-11 Senior Fellowship at Koç University, Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (Istanbul, Turkey). Supported by a top-up grant from Brown University Dean of Faculty and Provost's Office for junior sabbatical leave.
2009 The Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award. Brown University Office of the Vice President for Research. Project title: "Southern Beyşehir Lake Basin Archaeological Research Project: First Field Season (2009)"
2009 Teaching with Technology Award. With the course Arch 0250 Intimate Stories: Narrative in ancient visual culture (A First Year Seminar - Fall 2008). Computer & Information Services, Vice President/Cio. Computing & Information Services and Dean of the College, Brown University.
2008 Faculty Lectureship Grant: The Mollie B. Mandeville Lectureship. Brown University, Office of the Dean of Faculty. "Archaeologies of Place and Landscape" Amount: $1,900.
2008 Course Development Grant. Brown University, Office of the Dean of Faculty. First Year Seminar Course Arch 0250 Intimate Stories: Narrative in Ancient Art.
2008 International UTRA (Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award) supervising Undergraduate Student Bochay Drum. Office of the Dean of College, Brown University.
2003 Carter Manny Citation of Special Recognition Award. Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
2003 Dean's Scholar, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania.
1999-2003 Louis J. Kolb Foundation Fellowship. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
1997 Prof. Dr. Mustafa N. Parlar Education and Research Foundation Thesis Award. Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey).
Most of my teaching has so far focused on the intersection of two major fields of inquiry: art, architecture and material culture of the ancient Near East on the one hand, and the archaeological, architectural, and art-historical theories used in the study of the ancient world on the other. I plan to continue teaching courses that focus on the intersections of contemporary theory and the archaeological evidence, with particular emphasis on theories of material culture and architectural space and a broad geographical focus on the ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean world (especially Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria, Iran, Egypt and the Levant). I do favor thematically designed courses such as those that I have taught so far: "Architecture, Body, and Performance," "Architecture and Memory" and "Material Worlds", and I plan to design new courses that engage with bodies of theoretical discourse and pursue new readings of relevant art-historical and architectural material, especially those that relate to issues of space, body, representation, gender and sexuality, performance, ideology and social memory.
You can reach the web pages of each course I have taught here. Recent courses include my graduate seminars Archaeologies of Place and The Rise (and Demise) of the State in the Near East; graduate/undergraduate courses Architecture and Memory and Under the Tower of Babel: Archaeology, Politics, and Identity in the Modern Middle East; First Year Seminar Intimate Stories.
2009-2010 The Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award. Brown University Office of the Vice President for Research. Project title: "Southern Beyşehir Lake Basin Archaeological Research Project: First Field Season (2009)" Awarded: $15,000.
2009-2010 Brown University Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies. Project title: "Southern Beyşehir Lake Basin Archaeological Research Project: First Field Season (2009)" Awarded: $15,000.
- Drawing on rocks, gathering by the water: archaeological fieldwork at rock reliefs, sacred springs and other places
- Yalburt Yaylası Archaeological Landscape Research Project