Back to Calendar

Texts in Transition

This image shows a clay tablet broken into two pieces. The top and bottom form a sort of case or envelope and are covered with tiny, carved images of people, animals, and symbols. The section in the middle looks like a separate piece with cuneiform writing and is a slightly lighter orange color.
Cuneiform tablet and envelope: Old Assyrian letter, Assyrian, c. 1927–1836 BCE. Clay. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Leslie Cheek, Jr., and Purchase through the generosity of Sol Rabin and the Marian H. Phinney Fund, 2000.197.A–C.

Special Event

This event was recorded. Please view the talk here.

The Harvard Art Museums collections play an important role in the popular undergraduate course Texts in Transition, co-taught by history professor Ann Blair and English professor Leah Whittington, as part of the Harvard College Program in General Education.

In this conversation, professors Blair and Whittington will discuss this ongoing collaboration with Laura Muir and Jen Thum of the Harvard Art Museums. Together, they will explore the role that close examination—in person and virtual—of a diverse array of objects plays in helping students consider how texts have traveled through time and across media, as well as the ways in which these objects capture, transmit, and preserve human experiences.

Ann Blair, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Chair of the Department of History

Leah Whittington, Professor of English

Laura Muir, Associate Director of Academic and Public Programs and Louis Miller Thayer Research Curator

Jen Thum, Assistant Director of Academic Engagement and Assistant Research Curator

This virtual seminar will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

You will receive an email confirming your registration along with a Zoom link and password for the program. If you have any questions, please contact For instructions on how to join a meeting in Zoom, please click here.

Please check our Harvard Art Museums from Home page for a full list of online programs and a rich array of digital content on offer while the museums are closed. Receive regular updates by subscribing to our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.