The Negotiation of Political Subjectivity in the Neo-Assyrian Empire

Author(s): Melissa Rosenzweig

Year: 2015


Thinking of political subjectification as the processes by which individuals recognize themselves as subjects to authority, this paper pursues the negotiation of this subjectivity for people living within the purview of the ancient Neo-Assyrian empire. Negotiation resides between the poles of subjugation and resistance to authority, and constitutes the ways in which people participate in defining the contours of their socio-political positions. In the provinces of Upper Mesopotamia in the early first millennium BCE, Neo-Assyrian authorities put conquered peoples to work farming the land, and this program of agricultural colonization instituted human-environment practices that established ties between agriculturalist and empire. But, importantly, subject agriculturalists cultivated agro-pastoral practices that circulated outside Neo-Assyria’s large-scale, surplus economy. These divergent forms of land-use nuance subjects’ relationship to the empire. Neither wholly assenting to nor rebelling against the Assyrianization wrought on them through imposed resettlement and taxation, subject agriculturalists preserved and/or created avenues (both material and performative) for fostering non-imperial subjectivities. Archaeobotanical data from the provincial capital of Ziyaret Tepe (ancient Tushan) in southeastern Turkey demonstrate the archaeological imprint of this negotiation of political identity and agency.

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Cite this Record

The Negotiation of Political Subjectivity in the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Melissa Rosenzweig. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396282)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;