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The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

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Minutes from the General Meeting of Melammu
Symposia 8, held on 12 November 2015

Taken by Sebastian Fink

Robert Rollinger opened the General Meeting with a short overview of the history of the Melammu project which was - after a phase of relative inactivity - restarted with the Melammu conference held at Obergurgl in 2013.

New statutes of the project have been developed in advance and preliminarily discussed by the board members. They were presented to the assembly and read out by Robert Rollinger for discussion and approval.

Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila made a first comment concerning a formulation. In point the word "members" should be replaced by "scholars". Several other suggestions of minor corrections of formulations were gratefully acknowledged and are not mentioned in the minutes any more.

Thomas Kämmerer raised the question if the designation "Project" still seems appropriate for Melammu. This point was discussed but no general agreement was reached, but it was stated that the subtitle "The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Near East" should be reformulated, because Mesopotamia is a part of the Near East and so the title is somewhat redundant. Suggestions of better formulations to the board are most welcome.

Jared Miller asked if the terms "external reviewer" and "editors" should be defined in the statutes. Robert Rollinger expressed his view that too strict regulations might lead to problems in the future and so it might be better to keep this point relatively open.

Amar Annus asked why the idea of Melammu as a registered society with membership was given up. Robert Rollinger stated that he thinks that it might be better in order to keep Melammu an open enterprise not to promote the idea of a closed circle of Melammu-members.

Krzysztof Ulanowski hinted at the possibility that there should maybe be members in order to prevent someone from inviting 100 friends of his to the Melammu meeting and letting himself be elected by them as the chairman of the project. Robert stated that this is theoretically possibly but that he doesn’t see the danger that this really happens.

That led to the next question of Alessandra Gilibert who asked how Melammu is financed. Robert Rollinger stated that Melammu has no property or any money.

Jared Miller asked if it is necessary to mention in the statutes that Melammu has no financial structure behind it. This question will be taken into consideration and will be discussed at the next general meeting in 2015.

Hilary Gopnik proposed to consider if undergraduates should also have the possibility to become members of the board. Deferred to 2015.

After a discussion about Hilary’s suggestions Krzysztof Nawotka pointed to the fact that the statutes can be easily altered on the next Melammu Meeting and suggested that we should not change things (except smaller formal things) right now but think the points over and work them out properly.

Lorenzo d'Alfonso took up this suggestion and formulated it the following way: the board should collect these suggestions and if they are found worth considering then the statues should be changed and voted on in the next meeting. So the procedure should be defined as follows in the statutes:

  1. vote on the statues;
  2. suggestions for optimizing the statues for next year.

Amar Annus made a remark concerning the description of the project and posed the question if the second sentence of the first chapter of the statutes is necessary. Robert answered that he thinks that the second sentence should be kept in order to prevent people from understanding Melammu as a panbabylonist' undertaking and that the aspect of comparison is essential to Melammu.

Thomas Kämmerer came back to the subtitle and asked if Melammu’s interest in the ANE's impact on the west should be mentioned in the subtitle. Amélie Kuhrt stated that the term "heritage" seems to be problematic for her. Deferred to 2015.

Hartmut Kühne asked if the chronological restriction in the project description is necessary. Deferred to 2015.

Next the question was raised if the designation ANE includes Iran but this was confirmed.

Hilary Gopnik stated that the subtitle should point to the interdisciplinarity of the project. Then it was asked how other disciplines could be involved in the Melammu Project. Robert's suggestion was that this could be done best by different main topics of further conferences that open up the project for new disciplines.

Finally the vote on the statutes took place. The statutes were accepted and there was no vote against it.

Before closing the General Meeting Robert read out a letter of Cynthia Jean, who asked the organizers of upcoming conferences to send the circular also to all members of the board in order to keep them informed.

End of the General Meeting.

Points for 2015:

  • Do we need to mention in the statutes that there is no financial structure behind Melammu?
  • Should it also be possible for undergratduate-students to become member of the board?
  • The title and subtitle should be discussed.
  • Is a chronological restriction for the project necessary?