Traveling Tropes: Readings suggested by the presenters at Seminar 10 December, 2020:

Ahmad, Irfan. “Genealogy of the Islamic State: Reflections on Maududi’s Political Thought and Islamism”. In Islam, Politics and Anthropology, edited by F. Osella and B. Soares. Wiley-Blackwell & JRAI, 2010, 138-55.

Ahmad, Irfan. Islamism and Democracy in India: The Transformation of Jamaat-e-Islami. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Bauman, Z., 2000. Liquid modernity, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Benjamin, W. (2008). The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. Penguin UK.

Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant matter: A political ecology of things. Duke University Press.

Brown, B. (2001). Thing Theory. Critical Inquiry, 28(1), 1-22. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from

Castells, M. (2015). Networks of outrage and hope: Social movements in the Internet age. John Wiley & Sons.

Csordas, Thomas. 2009. (ed.) Transnational Transcendence Essays on Religion and Globalization. University of California Press.

Dabashi, Hamid. The Emperor is Naked: On the Inevitable Demise of the Nation-State. London: Zed, 2020. 

Dabashi, Hamid. Post-Orientalism: Knowledge and Power in a Time of Terror. London: Routledge, 2009.

Deleuze, G. (1992). What is a dispositif. Michel Foucault: Philosopher, 159-168.

Farris, Sara. 2017. In the Name of Women′s Rights: The Rise of Femonationalism.

Fibiger, M. Q. 2020. “Chapter 26 Floating Hindu Tropes in European Culture and Languages”, in Handbook of Hinduism in Europe (eds) Knut A. Jacobsen and Ferdinando Sardella, Brill764-775.

DeLanda, M. (2016). Assemblage theory. Edinburgh University Press.

Durham Peters, John. 2915. The Marvellous Clouds. Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media. University of Chicago Press.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn, David Robertson & Egil Asprem (eds) 2018. Handbook of Conspiracy Theory and Contemporary Religion, eds.  Leiden: E.J. Brill.

Hallaq, Wael. Restating Orientalism: A Critique of Modern Knowledge. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.

Kirwan, Michael and Achtar, Ahmad. Mimetic Theory and Islam: “The Wound Where Light Enters.” London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Makdisi, Ussama. “The Mythology of the Sectarian Middle East,” Center for the Middle East, Rice University’ Baker Institute for Public Policy, 2017, accessible at

Mamdani, Mahmood. “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and 

Terrorism,” American Anthropologist, Volume 104, Issue 3 (2002): 766-775, accessible at

Mitchell, W. T. (2013). Iconology: image, text, ideology. University of Chicago Press.

Panofsky, E. (1939). Studies in iconology. New York and Evanston, Ill.

Sontag, S. (2001). On photography (Vol. 48). Macmillan.

Wise, J. (2013). Assemblage. In Gilles Deleuze: Key Concepts (pp. 91-102). Acumen Publishing Limited.

Ethical and Legal Dimensions in Research on Archaological and Heritage Artifacts: Readings and presentations from the webinar 10 September, 2020:

Bonnie, Rick et al. (eds). Working with cultural objects and manuscripts: Provenance, Legality, and Responsible Stewardship. Publications of Finnish Museums Association No. 77, 2020.

Cuyler, Mary Jane. “A Truly Unlucky Excavation: Studying and Publishing Ceramics from Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome”(ppt presentation)

Korsvoll, Nils Hallvard. “Seeing the Forest but Missing the Trees”. Marginalia Los Angeles Review of Books, 20 July 2018

Lied, Liv Ingeborg. Textual Scholarship, Ethics, and Someone Else’s Manuscripts. Ancient Jew Review. 21 May, 2019.

Nongbri, Brent. “Working with the Bodmer Collection: Results and Reservations” (ppt presentation)

Readings on Infrastructure after seminar 11 February, 2020:

Bowker, Geoffrey C., and Susan L. Star. Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1999.

Bialski, Paula, Finn Brunton and Mercedez Bunz. Communication. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019. 

Edwards, Paul N. “The Mechanics of Invisibility: On Habit and Routine as Elements of Infrastructure,” pages 327-36 in Infrastructure Space. Edited by I. Ruby & A. Ruby. Berlin: Ruby Press, 2017.

Innis, Harold. Empire and Communication. London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007. 

Kittler, Friedrich. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Latour, Bruno. An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013.

Law, John. After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. London: Routledge, 2004.

MacLuhan, Marschall. Understanding Media: The Extension of Man. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1994. 

MacFadden, MargaretGolden Cables of Sympathy: The Transatlantic Sources of Ninteenth Century Feminism. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1999. 

Morley, David. Communications and Mobility: The Migrant, the Mobile Phone, and the Container Box. Hoboken , NJ.: Willey-Blackwell, 2017.

Parks, Lisa, and Nicole Starosielski (eds) Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures (The Geopolitics of Information). Urbana, Chicago and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2015.

Peters, John Durham. The Marvelous Clouds: Towards a Philosophy of Elemental Media. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Sundin, Olof. “Janitors of Knowledge: Constructing Knowledge in the Everyday Life of Wikipedia Editors,” Journal of Documentation 67/5 (2011): 840-862. 

Sundin, Olof, and Jutta Haider (eds.) Invisible Search and Online Search Engines: The Ubiquity of Search in Everyday Life. London: Routledge, 2019.

Tung-Hui HuA Prehistory of the Cloud. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2015. 

Ytreberg, Espen. “Networked Simultaneities in the Time of the Great Exhibitions: Media and the 1914 Oslo Centenary Jubilee Exhibition,” International Journal of Communication 10 (2016): 5284-5303.

Readings for trip to National Library, 12 Nov 2019:

Greg Anderson, “Retrieving the Lost Worlds of the Past: The Case for an Ontological Turn,” American Historical Review (2015), 786-81.

Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias,” Architecture/Mouvement/Continuité (1984/1967), 1-9.

Readings suggested on the National Library visit, 12 Nov 2019, especially connected to “the ontological turn”. Thanks Erling, Line, and Liv Ingeborg!

Michael Bentley, “Past and ‘Presence’: Revisiting Historical Ontology”, History and Theory, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Oct., 2006), 349-361

Catherine Mike Chin. “Marvelous Things Heard: On Finding Historical Radiance.” The Massachusetts Review 58/3 (2017): 478-91.

Ewa Domanska, “The Material Presence of the Past”, History and Theory, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Oct., 2006), 337-348

Stephen Justice, “Did the Middle Ages Believe in Their Miracles?”, Representations 103 (2008), 1-29

Eelco Runia, “Spots of Time “, History and Theory, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Oct., 2006), 305-316

Readings for Seminar, 17 Sept 2019:

Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, Europäische Literatur Und Lateinisches Mittelalter (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953), 3-16.

Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, Europäische Literatur Und Lateinisches Mittelalter (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953), 128-144.

Readings on literary tropes, metaphors, and genres suggested by Brent Nongbri after the Curtius seminar 17 September 2019:


Michael Peppard, The Son of God in the Roman World (OUP, 2012)

Metaphors die when, through repeated use, they cease to provoke comparison. Metaphors can be resurrected by placing them within different generative contexts. “Son of God” is, in the context of contemporary biblical scholarship, a dead metaphor because we think we know what it means, that it has a stable referent. It is “resurrected” through consideration of the language of “Son of God” in pre-Nicene contexts.


Harold Attridge, “Genre Bending in the Fourth Gospel,” Journal of Biblical Literature 121 (2002), 3-21

A series of identifications of classical tropes and genres within the Gospel According to John with demonstrations of ways in which generic expectations are regularly upended by the author of the gospel.


Eva MroczekThe Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (OUP 2016)

Exquisite reflection on tropes and metaphors of textual growth in antiquity (Ben Sira) and ancient techniques of attribution and authorship (Psalms), among other topics.


Michael Peppard, “ ‘Poetry’, ‘Hymns’, and ‘Traditional Material’ in New Testament Epistles, Or, How to Do Things with Indentations,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30 (2008), 319-342

Part of the training of biblical scholars involves the identification of various forms within texts. One of the attractions of having discovered a “form” within a text is that the form will inevitable be earlier than the text. If enough of the guild accepts the identification of a form, editorial conventions, like block indentation, ossify the form for all future readers (beautifully illustrated with the history of interpretation of the “hymn” in Philippians).

Contemporary tropes:

Stephen D. MooreGod’s Gym: Divine Male Bodies of the Bible (Routledge, 1996)

The best book at identifying (and justifiably mocking) the rhetorical tropes of late-twentieth century biblical scholars. Also among my top 10 favorite books. Maybe top 5.