Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and the College
Jana Matuszak’s research focuses on editing, translating, and analyzing Sumerian literature, with a particular interest in lesser-known or hitherto unknown texts. This work requires close engagement with original cuneiform manuscripts, which she has studied in collections across Europe, America, and Asia. Her work combines philological basic research with analytical methods derived from literary and cultural studies, leading her to explore problems of grammar and lexicography just as much as questions related to gender, law, and religion.
Her dissertation, which presented the first critical edition and analysis of a Sumerian literary disputation between two women, won the International Association for Assyriology Dissertation Prize and the German Academic Scholarship Foundation’s Johannes Zilkens Prize for the best dissertation in humanities and social sciences. Her first monograph, based on her dissertation, was published by De Gruyter in 2021. She is currently working on a book project exploring Sumerian mock hymns as a hitherto unrecognized genre, along with a second monograph entitled “Defining Femininity: The Construction of Ideal Women in Sumerian Didactic Literature at the Dawn of the Second Millennium BCE.”
Matuszak received her PhD in Sumerology summa cum laude from the University of Tübingen. After faculty positions at the University of Jena and SOAS University of London, she was an assistant professor at the University of Tübingen. She will join the University of Chicago faculty on January 1, 2023.