Institutional Member: American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR)

American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), Marian Feldman (Johns Hopkins University), ASOR institutional representative

The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that supports and encourages the study of the cultures and history of the Near East, from the earliest times to the present. Founded in 1900 by twenty-one institutions, ASOR now has three affiliated overseas research centers, more than 90 consortium institutions, including universities, seminaries, museums, foundations, and libraries, as well as more than 1,550 individual members.

ASOR fosters original research, archaeological excavations and explorations; encourages scholarship in the Near East’s basic languages, cultural histories and traditions; builds support for Near Eastern studies; and advocates high academic standards. ASOR also offers educational opportunities in Near Eastern history and archaeology to students from all over the world, and through outreach activities to the public. ASOR communicates news of the latest research findings through its journals, books, lectures, and annual meeting. It awards dozens of fellowships for fieldwork in the eastern Mediterranean annually.

Within ASOR, two primary vehicles for support of the study of Iraq are the Annual Meeting session on the Archaeology of Mesopotamia and the standing Committee on Mesopotamian Civilization. ASOR also hosts a web page dedicated to archaeological research in Iraq, the Iraq information page.

The Committee on Mesopotamian Civilization (commonly referred to as the Baghdad Committee) is dedicated to promoting through research, excavation, and publication, the dissemination of knowledge of Mesopotamian civilization. The committee serves as the functional arm of ASOR’s overseas school in Baghdad, Iraq, which was founded in 1923 through a 1922 bequest (the Nies bequest) to ASOR for excavations and the publication of their results. In 1947, ASOR’s Baghdad School began publication of the Journal of Cuneiform Studies (JCS). The School also sponsored one or more annual professors and fellows until the late 1960s, when residency in Iraq became difficult. The School (with a director) was changed to a Committee (with a chair) in 1970 when the Iraqi government decided to close all foreign schools. Since 1970, the Committee has overseen the Mesopotamian Fellowship. For more information, read a history of ASOR’s Baghdad School that operated in Iraq from 1923–1969.

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