Courses of Interest

Current  |  Past


   

Spring 2024

Antioch through the Ages - Archaeology and History (LA)
Subject associations
ART 418 / HLS 418 / CLA 418 / PAW 418

Antioch was unique among the great cities of the classical world for its position at the crossroads between the Mediterranean and Asia. Students in this course will get exclusive access to the archives and artifacts from Princeton's mostly unpublished Antioch excavations of the 1930s. The focus of the 2024 course will be death and its aftermath in the Greek, Roman, and Islamic worlds, based on excavations in an area just outside the ancient walls of Antioch, which revealed burial remains and the famous and unparalleled Mnemoysne mosaic, which depicts a symposium of women participants.

Instructors
Alan M. Stahl
Problems in Greek Literature: Divinity in Classical Greek Thought
Subject associations
CLA 514 / HLS 514 / PHI 527

The course discusses classical Greek perspectives on the gods and theology, drawing from both "philosophy" and "literature" and exploring their intersections and divergences. Topics include myth and myth-criticism, cosmology and cosmogony, allegoresis and hermeneutics, ritual and divination, and agnosticism and atheism. Major authors include Heraclitus, Aeschylus, Empedocles, Aristophanes, Euripides, the sophists, the Hippocratic authors, Xenophon, and Plato. The course works closely with texts in the original, but is open to students who wish to engage intensively through translation.

Instructors
Joshua H. Billings
Mirjam E. Kotwick
Problems in Roman History: New Approaches
Subject associations
CLA 546

This course, intended partly as a continuation of the Roman History Proseminar, has two aims. The first is to teach active debates in the study of Roman history. To this end, each week, we read a monograph-or, in select cases, programmatic long articles or edited volumes-published in Roman history within the past five years. The second aim is to sharpen collective skill in critically engaging monographs, from evaluation of their role in resolving-or amplifying-live controversies to assessment of their place within infrastructures of knowledge production.

Instructors
Dan-El Padilla Peralta
Problems in Medieval Literature: From Parchment to Print: Greek Palaeography and Textual Criticism
Subject associations
CLA 565 / HLS 565 / MED 565

This course aims to demystify the methods, instruments, and skills of palaeography and textual criticism, while furnishing participants with hands-on experience of discovering, researching, and editing a previously unpublished Greek text. Students are introduced to relevant aspects of codicology and manuscript study more broadly, as well as scholarship on the potential and the limits of editorial practice in the humanities. Strong classical Greek (e.g., ability to handle Attic prose) a must.

Instructors
Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis
David T. Jenkins
Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Medieval Mediterranean
Subject associations
HIS 536 / HLS 536 / MED 536

The littoral of the Great Sea has long been viewed as a major place of contact, conflict and exchange for groups belonging to the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This course approaches the encounters of different religions and ethnicities in such a manner as to introduce students not only to the classic historiography on the subject, but also to the main controversies and debates now current in scholarship. Our analysis and evaluation of the connections that developed between individuals and communities will focus on the High Middle Ages.

Instructors
Teresa Shawcross
Themes in Islamic Culture: Middle Eastern History
Subject associations
NES 503

The theme is premodern Arabic biographical literature, with readings from a wide range of tabaqat works.

Instructors
Michael A. Cook
Ottoman Diplomatics: Paleography and Diplomatic Documents
Subject associations
NES 506

An introduction to Ottoman paleography and diplomatics. The documents are in divani and rika scripts.

Instructors
M. Sükrü Hanioglu
Intermediate Syriac
Subject associations
NES 512

The aim of the course is to provide the linguistic skills and the academic tools that are necessary to carry out research in Syriac Studies. The first session deals with the transcription of Syriac and presents an overview of the basic resources for academic research. The rest of the course centers on a selection of Syriac texts and addresses fundamental notions of literature, culture, and history.

Instructors
George A. Kiraz
Themes in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence
Subject associations
NES 555

Selected topics in Islamic law and jurisprudence. The topics vary from year to year, but the course normally includes reading of fatwas and selected Islamic legal texts in Arabic.

Instructors
Hossein Modarressi
Introduction to Arabic Manuscripts
Subject associations
NES 557

Hands-on introduction to Arabic manuscripts and their material history via Princeton's Garrett Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts, the largest such collection in North America. Covers the anatomy of the medieval Arabic book, including codicology, supports, scripts, ink, ownership notes, certificates of audition and other paratextual information; and the social history of the book, including reading and transmission, libraries, the modern book trade, and the ethics and legality of the transfer cultural patrimony. Good classical Arabic is a prerequisite; prior experience with manuscripts and paleography is neither expected nor assumed.

Instructors
Marina Rustow
Topics in Premodern Iranian History: The Persianate World
Subject associations
NES 574

Introduces to themes in the study of Iran and the broader Persian-speaking world before 1800. Course introduces students to contemporary debates and works of recent scholarship. Topics vary but can either be organized around broad historical themes and approaches or focus on individual dynasties and time periods. Knowledge of Persian related languages desirable but not necessary.

Instructors
Daniel J. Sheffield
Studies in Greco-Roman Religions: Antioch and Dura Europos from the Seleucids to Late Antiquity
Subject associations
REL 504 / HLS 504 / CLA 519

Ancient Antioch and Dura-Europos (in Syria) were characterized by religious diversity. Stunning mosaics, frescoes, and other archaeological evidence and a rich literary tradition help us to understand life in the cities. In this seminar, we join with students at Yale University to learn about the social and religious history and cultural heritage of these cities. Yale students travel to Princeton, and Princeton students travel to New Haven, to learn about the collections that each of our universities has. We engage in new research into historical reconstructions of Antioch and Dura.

Instructors
AnneMarie Luijendijk
Studies in the History of Islam: Legal Categories and Social Realities
Subject associations
REL 509 / NES 510 / GSS 509

This seminar explores the relationship between legal categories, especially categories of legal disability, and social and economic life in Medieval Muslim societies. We begin with "Being a Child" and conclude with "Being Dead." Readings include primary sources such as legal texts, chronicles, legal documents, coins and epigraphy. Classes in the Numismatics Collection and the Arabic manuscript collection at Firestone included.

Instructors
Shaun E. Marmon
Religions of Late Antiquity Workshop
Subject associations
REL 526

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.

Instructors
Yedidah Koren