The Satrapal Condition: Archaeology and the Matter of Empire


ACLS Fellowship Program


Near Eastern Studies


This project on the archaeology of empire develops a theoretical approach that recognizes provincial subjects and material objects as participants in political reproduction. It assembles this approach by drawing together debates within archaeology, political and postcolonial thought, social theories of materiality, and political philosophy from ancient Persia (whence the word satrapy). Out of this encounter emerges the "satrapal condition," an archaeological concept for grappling with how non-colonial empires endure. This project explores the satrapal condition empirically through a study of built spaces and material objects in the Persian Empire's satrapy of Armenia. Research for this project includes extensive excavations in modern Armenia.