Courses of Interest
Art and Power in the Middle Ages
ART 228 / HLS 228 / MED 228 / HUM 228
In twelve weeks this course will examine major art works from the twelve centuries (300-1500 CE) that encompass the European Middle Ages. Presenting works from Europe and the Middle East, the course will introduce students to the art of Catholicism and Orthodoxy, Judaism and Islam; the great courts of the Eastern- and Holy Roman Empires, and the roving Vikings, Celts and Visigoths. Students will not only be invited to consider how art can represent and shape notions of sacred and secular power, but will also come to understand how the work of 'art' in this period is itself powerful and, sometimes, dangerous.
Medieval Art - Emperors, Angels, and Martyrs: Bodies in Byzantium
ART 430 / HLS 430 / MED 430
This course will explore the modes and meanings of representations of different types of bodies in the art of the East Roman Empire (ca. 700 to 1453). Weekly meetings will center around a group of readings and images that focus on a particular type of body within the Byzantine world. The course will begin with the imperial body, cover Christ, martyrs, and saints, and conclude with the bodies of Byzantine and modern viewers. The textual and visual material in discussion will prompt students to think critically about the relationship between historical and represented bodies and the kinds of signification the body was and is made to bear.
The Roman Empire, 31 B.C. to A.D. 337
CLA 219 / HIS 219
To study the Roman Empire at its height; to trace the transformation of government from a republican oligarchy to monarchy; to study the changes wrought by multiculturalism on the old unitary society; to trace the rise of Christianity from persecution to dominance; and to assess Rome's contributions in historical context.
Harriet I. Flower
Problems in Ancient History - Transformations of Culture in Late Antiquity
CLA 547 / PAW 503 / HLS 547 / HIS 557
Relying on material and textual evidence, the seminar explores the cultural history of the Mediterranean World in the Late Antique period by focusing on continuities and transformations in fields such as literate education, transmission of knowledge, religious change, formation of identity, and legal practice. We discuss key concepts such as Romanization, paideia, religious conversion, democratization of culture, centre and periphery from the early Empire to the emergence of post-Roman cultures and societies. Attention is paid to past scholarship as well as to innovative approaches based on new evidence and methods.
Helmut Reimitz, Alberto Rigolio
The Civilization of the Early Middle Ages
HIS 343 / CLA 343 / HLS 343
This course will survey the "Dark Ages" from the end of the Roman Empire to the end of the first millennium (ca. 400-1000 AD), often seen as a time of cultural and political decline, recently even labelled as the "end of civilization". The complex political and social landscape of the Roman Empire, however, had more to offer than just to end. This course will outline how early medieval people(s) in the successor states of the Roman Empire used its resources to form new communities and will suggest to understand the "Dark Ages" as a time of lively social and cultural experimentation, that created the social and political frameworks of Europe.
Problems and Sources in the Study of Late Antique Iran: Sasanian History
This graduate seminar is meant as both an overview of Sasanian history as well as an introduction to its historiography. It is organized based on the study of sources and addresses the issue of the diversity of languages, types of evidence, and variety of approaches. It additionally aims at connecting Sasanian history to the greater issues of late antique and world history and emphasizes similarities and mutual influences with other late antique civilizations and entities.
Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
POL 301 / CLA 301 / HLS 303
A study of the great works of political theory in four periods: ancient Greece, including Athenian democracy, Thucydides, Plato and Aristotle; ancient Rome from republic to empire, including Polybius, Cicero, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius; medieval Christian political thought in Augustine, Aquinas, Marsilius, and others; and a brief survey of Renaissance meditations on classical themes. Fundamental topics are examined, including nature and convention; constitutional analysis, including democracy, oligarchy, tyranny, kingship, and the mixed constitution; property, virtue, law, and republicanism; church and state; consent and representation.
Special Topics in the Study of Religion - Papyrology and Late Antique History
This course introduces students to the tools of the discipline of papyrology. The two main components are 1. how to write history with ancient papyrus documents and 2. the material history of books (new philology). We work with a broad range of papyri, mainly in Greek, so strong knowledge of Greek is required.
Religions of Late Antiquity Workshop
A weekly, year-long workshop providing students in the Religions of Late Antiquity with the opportunity to present their current research for discussion. Note: REL 525 (fall) and REL 526 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit and/or a grade, students must take the course both semesters.
Elaine H. Pagels