Public Lecture Events

Due to circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud to present our annual public lecture series online. Though we miss gathering for intellectual exchange in-person at our facility in Amman, we are pleased to offer this unprecedented opportunity for international virtual connection regarding research in Jordan.

This page is continuously updated, so please check back soon for more information about upcoming presentations. For consistent notification of the latest news and events, sign up for our mailing list.

“An Invocation to Jesus in a Safaitic Inscription?”

by Dr. Ahmad Al-Jallad (Ohio State University)
Tues. February 16, 2021 at 6 p.m. Amman local time

The Safaitic inscriptions constitute the largest epigraphic corpus in Jordan. The term refers to the northern most branch of the South Semitic alphabet, a sister of the Ancient  South Arabian script (musnad). The inscriptions, concentrated in the Syro-Jodanian Basalt Desert (the Ḥarrah), record the lifeways of the regions inhabitants some 2000 years ago. While the exact chronological limits of Safaitic are not known, scholars have assumed that the documentation ends around the 4th c. CE as there are no mentions of Christianity. This lecture will present a new inscription, discovered during the 2019 summer campaign of the Badia Surveys. It records an invocation to a new divinity, attested for the first time in Safaitic, that should likely be identified as Jesus. After the discussion of its reading and interpretation, I will explain the ramifications of this discovery on the history of Christianity in the region and the background of Quranic ʿysy.

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“Well-being and Living Well: Ethnographic Approaches to Health and Disability in Contemporary Jordan”

A panel with Dr. Christine Sargent (University of Colorado Denver), Morgen Chalmiers (University of California San Diego), and Timothy Loh (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Tues. March 16, 2021 at 7 p.m. Amman local time

Jordan has undergone dramatic demographic and educational shifts over a few short generations, accompanied by transformations in healthcare, health-related industries, and disability legislation and advocacy. At the same time, it continues to grapple with serious economic constraints and absorb the shocks of regional instability. These macro-processes offer ethnographers opportunities to examine how categories of health, normality, and difference—as well as structures of access, power, and inequality—shape everyday life and inform understandings of what it means to live well.  In this panel, three early-career scholars will reflect on the fields of medical anthropology and disability anthropology in Jordan and the broader region.

Morgen A. Chalmiers is a student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Her anthropological research broadly examines women’s experiences of reproductive healthcare using the tools and theoretical lens of psychological anthropology. Her fieldwork and clinical practice are informed by the paradigm of reproductive justice and a commitment to addressing health disparities through an intersectional framework. She is passionate about integrating anthropological insights into clinical practice and health policy through interdisciplinary collaboration.

Timothy Loh is a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS). His research examines the politics of deafness and disability, particularly in relation to assistive technologies, in Jordan and the broader Middle East through the lens of medical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and the social study of science.

Christine Sargent is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research explores how kinship, care, biomedicine, and therapeutic regimes shape Down syndrome in Jordan and the United States. She is broadly interested in disability, aging, and bioethics in the Middle East and North America.

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“A Review of Selected Sites in Jordan: Paleolithic–Neolithic Periods”

by Dr. Maysoon Al-Nahar (University of Jordan)
Tues. April 20, 2021 at 7 p.m. Amman local time

Jordan is extraordinarily rich in the archaeological vestiges of prehistoric periods. This lecture will review sites spanning from the Paleolithic (ca. 1,500,000 BC) to the end of Neolithic (ca. 4500 BC) periods. A selection of prehistoric sites from various geographical settings in Jordan will demonstrate different human settlements and development through time. In most cases, early prehistoric sites are associated with lakeshore environments. During the Paleolithic–early Epipaleolithic periods, hunter-gatherers lived in egalitarian and non-egalitarian societies, traveling from one place to another in search of resources for subsistence and raw materials such as flint for stone tools. They lived in both open-air locations and caves. In the late Epipaleolithic, people built semi-sedentary villages, and, in the Neolithic, sedentary villages supported by systematic farming became the way of life.

Check back soon for registration details.

Presentation title TBA

by Dr. Seteney Shami (Arab Council for the Social Sciences)
Monday, May 17, 2021 at 7 p.m. Amman local time

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Online lectures on demand

Did you know ACOR has over 40 recordings of past academic presentations, available for free on our YouTube channel? Click here to see our video list, including short presentations from virtual academic conferences (e.g., ASOR and MESA) as well as feature lecture events previously held at ACOR in recent years.

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