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Portrait: Matthew Canepa

Matthew P Canepa

612/625-8336
Art History 421 Heller Hall 271 - 19th Ave S

Narrative

Office Hours:
Fall 2013: office hours Tues. 4:00-5:30 and by appointment.

About Professor Canepa

Matthew Canepa (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is an historian of art, archaeology and religions. His research tends to focus on the intersection of art, ritual and power in the eastern Mediterranean, Persia and the wider Iranian world.

Prof. Canepa's first book, entitled The Two Eyes of the Earth (University of California Press, 2009 [2010]), is the first to analyze the artistic, ritual and ideological interactions between the late Roman/Byzantine and Sasanian empires in a comprehensive and theoretically rigorous manner. It was awarded the 2010 James Henry Breasted Prize from the American Historical Association for the best book in English on any field of history prior to the year 1000 CE.

Theorizing Cross-Cultural Interaction (Smithsonian, 2010) studies the phenomena of cross-cultural interaction between the ancient to early Medieval Mediterranean, Western Asia and China. Other recent publications include an article on the recreation of Persian monuments and identity in late antiquity, an examination of the impact of Achaemenid and Seleukid practices on Middle Iranian royal funerary monuments and associated rituals, and Hellenistic and Middle Iranian sacred architecture in Western Asia. He is currently finishing a book exploring the transformation of Iranian identity, landscapes, architecture and urbanism and is serving as an area advisor/editor for the planned Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity.

Professor Canepa is an elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and has been the recipient of numerous research fellowships including from the Getty Research Institute (2013), the American Council of Learned Societies (2009-2010), the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (2007), and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (2002-2003). In fall 2009 he was invited to be the Michaelmas Term visiting Senior Research Fellow at Merton College, University of Oxford.

In addition to seminars on historiography and theory, Canepa teaches courses in the art and archaeology of the late Roman/early Byzantine Mediterranean, Pre-Islamic Iran, and Hellenistic Asia. He encourages prospective graduate students who wish to pursue research in these areas or who are interested in critical approaches to the study of pre-modern art and architecture to contact him.

For Prospective MA/PhD Students: University of Minnesota is the only graduate program in North America that offers specialized training in the art and architectural history of Persia and the ancient Iranian world encompassing the Hellenistic through Sasanian periods. UMN is currently one of the few art history programs in North America that offers specialized doctoral training in the art and archaeology of the late Roman through early Byzantine Empire, from the Tetrarchy through Justinian. If you are considering pursuing graduate work in the art, architecture and archaeology of these areas, contact me via email to inform me of your interest, background and potential research topics. In addition to the Mediterranean and Western Asia, University of Minnesota's graduate program offers faculty strengths in the art, architecture and urbanism of Central, South and East Asia. These fields of study are supported by UMN's vibrant programs in Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Anthropological Archaeology, Medieval Studies, and Religious Studies as well as Art History faculty resources in Asian and Islamic Art.


Specialties

  • Art and Archaeology of Persia and the Ancient Iranian World
  • Art and Archaeology of Hellenistic Western and South Asia
  • Art and Archaeology of the Late Roman-Early Byzantine Empire
  • Art and Ritual of Power in the Ancient, Early Medieval World
  • Cross-Cultural Interaction
  • Archaeologies of Landcape, Memory and the Built and Natural Environment
  • Cognitive Archaeology
  • Law, Ethics of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

Publications

  • Canepa, Matthew P. The Two Eyes of the Earth: Art and Ritual of Kingship between Rome and Sasanian Iran The Transformation of the Classical Heritage 45. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.
  • Canepa, Matthew P. ed. Theorizing Cross-Cultural Interaction among the Ancient and Early Medieval Mediterranean, Near East and Asia Ars Orientalis 38. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian, 2010.
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. Persia and the Ancient Iranian World: Art and Archaeology of Iran from the Achemenids to the Sasanians. Berkeley: University of California Press, [under contract].
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "Theorizing Cross-Cultural Interaction Among Ancient and Early Medieval Visual Cultures.." Theorizing Cross Cultural Interaction, ed. M. Canepa Ars Orientalis 38 (2010): 7-19. Link
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "Distant Displays of Power: Understanding Cross-Cultural Interaction Among the Elites of Rome, Sasanian Iran, and Sui-Tang China." Theorizing Cross Cultural Interaction, ed. M. Canepa Ars Orientalis 38 (2010): 121-54. Link
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "Technologies of Memory In Early Sasanian Iran: Achaemenid Sites and Sasanian Identity." American Journal of Archaeology 114.4 (2010): 563-96. Link
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "Achaemenid and Seleukid Royal Funerary Practices and Middle Iranian Kingship." Commutatio et Contentio. Studies in the Late Roman, Sasanian, and Early Islamic Near East in Memory of Zeev Rubin (2010): 1-21. Link
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "The Art and Ritual of Manichaean Magic: Text, Object and Image from the Mediterranean to Central Asia." Objects in Motion: The Circulation of Religion and Sacred Objects in the Late Antique and Byzantine World (2011): 73-88. Link
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "The Transformation of Sacred Space, Topography and Royal Ritual in Persia and the Ancient Iranian World." Heaven on Earth: Temples, Ritual, and Cosmic Symbolism in the Ancient World (2013): Link
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "Sasanian Rock Reliefs." Oxford Handbook of Ancient Iran (2013): 856-77. Link
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "Building a New Vision of the Past in the Sasanian Empire: the Sanctuary of Lake Kayansih and the Great Fires of Iran." Journal of Persianate Studies 5 (2013): 69-94. Link
  • Canepa, Matthew P.. "Dynastic Sanctuaries and the Transformation of Iranian Kingship between Alexander and Islam." Of Architecture and Kingship: Strategies of Power in Iran from the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis ([forthcoming]): Link

Research Activities

  • Work in Progress- 'The Iranian Expanse: Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape and Cosmology in Iranian Western Asia (550 BCE – 642 CE).': A book-length study of the transformation of Iranian identity and cultural memory through the natural, urban and built environments. Project awarded fellowships from the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
  • Work in Progress- Royal Glory, Divine Fortune: Kingship in Iran between Alexander and Islam (330 BCE-642 CE): A book examining of the development of art, architecture and ritual of Iranian kingship in the Middle Iranian period. Project supported by the Getty Research Institute
  • Work in Progress- Persia and the Ancient Iranian World: Art and Archaeology of Iran from the Achemenids to the Sasanians (under contract with University of California Press): The first intensive study of the art and archaeology of pre-Islamic Iran published in decades.
  • Area Advisor and Subject Editor, The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity: Area advisor and subject editor for Persia, Central Asia, Persian Language and Literature, Persian Religion, and Iranian and Turkic nomads for the planned Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, a 1,000,000 word reference work focusing on ca. 250-750 CE.

Professional Activities

  • Paper invited for the symposium "Persianism" held at the Netherlands Institute, Istanbul, Turkey : "Contesting and Transforming Persian Architecture and Royal Identity among the Seleukids and Perso-Macedonian Dynasties of Hellenistic Western Asia." , April 24, 2014 - April 26, 2014
  • Invited Lecture: "Archaeologies of Iranian Identity," University of Pennsylvania , Feb. 7, 2014 - Feb. 7, 2014
  • Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of Tennessee 4th Annual Symposium: Lecture: "The Spatial Cosmologies of the Iranian Expanse in Late Antiquity: Manipulating Landscapes and Mindscapes to build Sasanian Eranshahr." , March 6, 2014 - March 8, 2014
  • “Topographies of Power and Memory in Late Antique Armenia.” : Paper invited for presentation in the panel Caucasus between Byzantium and Persia, Byzantine Studies Conference, Yale. , Oct. 31, 2013 - Nov. 3, 2013
  • "City, Palace, and Paradise": Paper invited for presentation at East-West Relations in the Ancient World: From Cyrus I to the Abbasid Caliphate. Williams College , Oct. 10, 2013 - Oct. 11, 2013
  • Paper invited for the Chicago-Paris Workshop on Ancient Religions Atelier Chicago-Paris sur les religions anciennes: "Topography, Text, Performance, Image: Transforming Iranian Identity through the Natural and Built Environments." The University of Chicago Center in Paris. Sept. 16, 2013
  • Member of the Board of Directors: International Center for Medieval Art , 2012 - 2015

Awards

  • Villa Scholar, Getty Research Institute, April 2013 - July 2013
  • James Henry Breasted Prize for the best book in English on any field of history prior to the year 1000 C.E., 2010
  • Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 2009 - 2010
  • Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Merton College, University of Oxford, 2009
  • North American Fellow, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, 2007
  • Elected Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London

Courses Taught

  • ARTH 8190 - Issues in Ancient Art and Archaeology. Graduate Seminar (topics vary, for Fall 2012, "Fire Temples and Sacred Spaces in Persia and the Ancient Iranian World").
  • ARTH 5192 - Art of Persia and the Ancient Iranian World: art and archaeology of the Achaemenid, Arsacid, and Sasanian empires.
  • ARTH 5115 - Hellenistic Asia and the Iranian East: art and archaeology of Hellenistic, Scythian, Parthian, Kushan and Sogdian Asia.
  • ARTH 5113 - Art Law. Cultural Heritage after Iraq and Afghanistan: legal and ethical debates in art history, archaeology, museum studies, and the art market.
  • ARTH 5786 Theorizing City and Space in the Mediterranean and Western Asia
  • ARTH 5188 - Late Roman-Byzantine Art and Archaeology
  • ARTH 3182 - Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt and Western Asia (undergraduate survey, AH and GP LibEd)
  • ARTH 3162 - Roman Art and Archaeology (undergraduate survey, HIS LibEd))
  • ARTH 3152 - Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece (undergraduate survey, HIS LibEd)
  • For current offerings refer to UMN's class schedule
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