Marc Van De Mieroop
Fellow: Awarded 2013
Field of Study: Near Eastern Studies
Competition: US & Canada
Marc Van De Mieroop studies the ancient history of the Middle East/Near East and his research engages with the last three millennia BCE. He was trained at the University of Louvain in Belgium and at Yale University in the U.S., where he obtained his Ph.D. He has taught at Yale, the University of Oxford, and Columbia University, where he is now a member of the history department.
In his research he explores issues with a broad scope across space and time. His interests span from socioeconomic history to “international” history and are currently focused on intellectual history. The titles of his books show these wide ranging concerns: they include Society and Enterprise in Old Babylonian Ur (1992), The Ancient Mesopotamian City (1997), and The Eastern Mediterranean in the Age of Ramesses II (2007). He is also concerned with historiographical challenges (Cuneiform Texts and the Writing of History, 1999), and has written general surveys of the ancient histories of the Near East (A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000–323 B.C., 2004 and 2007) and Egypt (A History of Ancient Egypt, 2011). In recent years he has become increasingly involved in the discipline of world history and has contributed to a textbook on the subject (Crossroads and Cultures. A History of the World’s People, 2012). Two aspirations inform his writing: an attempt to introduce critical methodologies of historical research into the study of the ancient Middle East and the wish to expose a wider public to ancient Middle Eastern material. He aims to demonstrate that ancient history is not limited to the study of Greece and Rome, but needs to be considered in a wider context that includes the cultures of the ancient Near East, Egypt, and their neighbors.
His research has been supported by several grants from the NEH and ACLS, and in 2011 he was a Senior Fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna, Austria. While a Guggenheim Fellow he will explore the ancient Babylonians’ approaches to truth, which differed radically from the Classical Greek attitudes often regarded as the basis of Western epistemology.