Program Details

The Dead Speak Again: Ancient Sumer at the Dawn of Western Civilization

Anne-Marie Bouché

Course Description

Arguably, what we commonly refer to as "Western" civilization – the culture that most of us grew up in -- originated in the 5th millennium BCE, in the cities of ancient Sumer. This civilization, located in the delta region of what is now southern Iraq, was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century and is still revealing its secrets to modern researchers through a series of spectacular discoveries and newly translated texts. We now have a remarkably complete understanding of Sumerian religion, political and economic structures, technology, art, architecture, and literature. In this presentation, we will meet these ancient Sumerians, bringing our cultural ancestors vividly to life through their art, artifacts, and writings. This presentation will be enhanced with PowerPoint images and a printed handout.

About the Instructor

  • Anne-Marie Bouché, Ph.D., is an associate professor of art history at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. Her scholarly specialty is the art of medieval Europe, but she also has extensive experience teaching advanced courses across the curriculum both at the university level and for general audiences. She earned her master's degree in library science from UC Berkeley and worked for several years as director of Rare Books and Special Collections for Mills College in Oakland, CA, before earning her doctoral degree in medieval art history from Columbia University. She worked as an assistant professor of medieval art for nine years at Princeton University, taught at Columbia University, and worked as a staff lecturer for The Cloisters Museum in New York. Her publications focus on the generation of meaning through form, primarily in Medieval manuscript illumination and sculpture. She also co-edited and published an article in The Mind's Eye: Art and Theological Argument in the Middle Ages, (Princeton University Press, 2005).