This team-taught survey course will examine the history of the visual arts in the Western world from Ancient Egypt (ca. 3000 BC) to the end of the Gothic era in Europe (ca. 1400 AD).
The Golden Age of Justinian: art and architecture in the sixth-century Mediterranean world
ARTH-A326 with Professor Sarah Bassett
Between his coronation in 527 and his death in 565, the emperor Justinian not only held sway over the territories of the Roman Empire. Hindsight reveals this sixth-century reign as a pivotal period in the history of Mediterranean artistic and architectural production, one that built on the technical, aesthetic, and cultural traditions of the Roman world to create new visual forms and experiences that responded to and shaped contemporary life.
Prophets, Poets, Kings: Iranian Civilization
CEUS-R351 and CEUS-R551 with Professor Jamsheed Choksy
This course traces the history, beliefs, and culture of Iranians from ancient times through the Arab conquest to the twenty-first century. It focuses on politics, administrative and social institutions, religions including Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Islam (Sunnism, Shi‘ism, and Sufism), relationships between secular and ecclesiastic hierarchies, status of minorities, devotional and communal change, and Iranian influences on other cultures. Lectures and discussions cover the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. Readings include the analysis of primary textual materials in translation. Visual aids will be used in class. No previous knowledge or course prerequisites are needed. CEUS-R 351 fulfills CASE Global Civilization and Culture credit (GCC), Social & Historical Studies (S&H), and Intensive Writing (IW) requirements for undergraduates.
Middle Iranian Languages (3 cr.) Middle Persian (Pahlavi)
CEUS-T356 and CEUS-T656 with Professor Jamsheed Choksy
The course introduces the alphabet, grammar, vocabulary, reading, translation, and analysis of texts in Western Middle Persian or Pahlavi. Documents are drawn from manuscripts and inscriptions. Social, political, religious, and commercial materials from the third through twelfth centuries CE will be read during class sessions. Those reading will be chosen by instructor in consultation with students.
CEUS-T398/T695 with Professor Christopher I. Beckwith
Introduction to the ancient Aramaic language, a close relative of Arabic and Hebrew. It was used throughout the Near East, Iran, Central Asia, and northwest India, including ancient Israel, so is one of the most important languages for the history and religious studies of antiquity. Students learn the alphabetic writing system and grammar, and are able to read Aramaic texts with the help of a dictionary. Readings will include passages from stories in the Bible (Old and New Testament); a beautiful poem; part of the Aramaic version of an Inscription of the Persian king Darius I; Aramaic letters from Bactria at the time of its conquest by Alexander the Great; and other texts. No previous knowledge of a Semitic language is necessary.
Rhetoric and Oratory
CLAS-L426 with Professor Cynthia Bannon
History of Roman rhetoric and oratory; emphasis on Cicero and Quintilian.
Medieval Literature: Exploring Human Identity and Identification in Medieval European Literature
CMLT-C321 with Professor Rosemarie McGerr
This course explores representations of individual and community identity in literature by Jewish, Muslim, and Christian authors in Europe from the 6th through 15th centuries. Readings will include works by some of the most famous medieval European authors, as well as anonymous texts like The Song of the Cid and The Second Shepherds’ Play. We will study how teach text defines human identity or questions definitions and how these definitions relate to the text’s cultural context. This course will be part of Themester 2022
Medieval Languages: Old Irish
ENG-L601 with Professor Joey McMullen
This course is an introduction to Old Irish, one of the most fascinating and complex Indo-European languages. The majority of our time will be spent learning the intricacies of the grammar, from initial mutation to infix pronouns to the consuetudinal present tense. Our focus will be acquisition of grammatical principles, vocabulary, and pronunciation, reinforced by the daily translation of practice sentences. By the end of the semester, depending on our pace, we will hopefully be able to begin to translate short passages from the Magnimrada (‘boyhood deeds’ of Cú Chulainn) in Táin Bó Cúailnge (‘The Cattle Raid of Cooley’).
Literary History and Theories of History: Reading Chaucer in Precarious Times
ENG-L738 with Professor Patricia C Ingham
What does it mean to read Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry in precarious times like ours? While not an overtly political writer, Chaucer lived in a time of cultural and political catastrophe. What does the context of Chaucer’s own precarious writing life offer for rethinking the agitated curiosity and creative desires that we experience now? And what does our current context suggest to Chaucer’s poetry? Scholars and teachers, refugees, global poets, postcolonial writers continue to find Chaucer’s poetry suggestive and enabling. We will read widely: in and around Chaucer’s poetic corpus, via the work of a diversity of critics, scholars, and contemporary writers in diverse parts of the globe inspired by him.
History of the French Language 1
FRIT-F603 with Professor Barbara Vance
The French language evolved from Popular Latin but was repeatedly influenced by contact with other languages, especially from the Celtic, Germanic, and Semitic families. This introduction to the history of French focuses on ‘internal’ developments while setting these against an ‘external’—historical and social—backdrop. We study the evolution of the sound system (phonology), word formation (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), and vocabulary, placing these developments within contemporary approaches to variation and change. Diachronic study is complemented by readings from Old French. Taught in English. No background in linguistics needed, but students should have advanced proficiency in Modern French or consult with the instructor.
HIST-B204 with Professor Leah Shopkow
Lots of folks get called heroes these days, because of their courage in getting necessary jobs done even at risk to themselves. However, most of those folks don't get remembered by society at large. So what are the qualities that made a medieval person memorable past their own lifetimes? To whom were they memorable, why, and what for? What got remembered, forgotten, and perhaps even made up? And what can this tell us about the medieval world, so like and yet so different from our own? We'll look at some heroes native to western Europe, but we will also be looking at a famous pair of enemies--heroes to their own cultures, Salah al-Din and Richard I of England--from both the Islamic and European perspective.
Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages
HIST-B351 with Professor Deliyannis
Barbarians, Islam, Charlemagne, the Vikings! The Early Middle Ages (c. 500-1000 AD) was a time of dramatic cultural, political, and social change. After the Roman Empire had disintegrated, western Europe experienced invasion, plague, religious conversion, and other upheavals that shaped entirely new political, social, and cultural systems. In the year 500, new kingdoms and identities were still very closely associated with the Roman world that continued in the eastern Mediterranean, but by the year 1000, western Europe was divided into many different political units, with two dominant religions, Christianity and Islam, no longer unified with the eastern and southern Mediterranean areas.
Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire/Rise of Eastern Rome
HIST-C390/MELC-M347 with Professor Dan Caner
How the collapse of Western Rome, and Rise of Eastern Rome, shaped the transition from the classical to medieval civilizations in Europe and the Near East.
The Black Death
HIST-H213 with Professor Kalani Craig
The bubonic plague has forced people all over the world to grapple with death, and the bacteria that caused these outbreaks is still with us today. We'll explore human response to crisis during these out-breaks by looking at art, written sources, clothing, and medical theory developed during plague outbreaks. From the sixth-century medieval Mediterranean world to 19th century China, from Renaissance England to 20th century Hawaii, we'll see how cultural similarities and differences shape plague response, and how these responses shape interactions between different cultures. From ancient primary sources to big-data analysis, we'll use a modern historian's tool box to explore the limits of what we can understand about the Black Death's past.
Seminar in History: Medieval Women Rulers
HIST-J300 with Professor Deliyannis
In the Middle Ages, some women exercised a surprising amount of authority as rulers - surprising to us, and sometimes surprising to their contemporaries. In this class, we will consider female rulers in Europe and the Mediterranean from the late Roman empire to the fourteenth century, from Cairo to London. We will examine sources for ruling women: how they were described (and by whom), how they were represented in art, and what is said about them in legal and religious texts. We will discuss the way they achieved political power, what kinds of authority they could exercise, who they married, what behaviors were expected of them, and how their personalities impacted their regions. Writing Intensive Course.
War and Peace in the Islamic Tradition
MELC-M391/MELC-M691 with Professor Asma Afsaruddin
Explores war and peace as universal themes within the internally diverse Islamic tradition. Focuses on how the concepts of war and peace are dealt with as religious, ethical, legal, and social issues and traces the various meanings of jihad in different sources. Focuses on the Islamic world from the pre-modern to the modern period. All readings are in English.
ARTH-A 101 Ancient and Medieval Art (3 cr) - Graves
Central Eurasian Studies
CEUS-T 151 Introductory Persian I (4 cr) - Daneshgar
CEUS-T 251 Intermediate Persian I (3 cr) - Daneshgar
CEUS-T 351 Advanced Persian I (4 cr) - Daneshgar
CEUS-T 373 Imperial Old Tibetan: The Language of the Tibetan Empire (3 cr) - Beckwith