Courses

Courses
Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Please use this page to search for courses in the current academic year and recent past. However, the most up-to-date version of our current course schedule with full time, date, and location information will always be on Class Search.

Subject Code Guide

NELC sorts courses by subject code. Most languages or language groups have a unique code. Courses under a language subject code include both introductory language sequences and advanced topics that may require knowledge of the language.

Students looking for non-language courses are generally going to be interested in NEAA and NEHC courses.

AANL Ancient Anatolian Languages (includes Hittite, Lycian, Lydian)
AKKD Akkadian (including Intro to Babylonian) 
ARAB Arabic
ARAM Aramaic
ARME Armenian
EGPT Egyptology 
GEEZ Ge'ez
HEBR Hebrew (Modern and Classical)
KAZK Kazak
NEAA Near Eastern Art and Archaeology
NEHC Near Eastern History and Civilizations
NELG Near Eastern Languages (usually topics in Comparative Semitics)
PERS Persian
SUMR Sumerian
TURK Turkish (includes Ottoman Turkish and Old Turkic)
UGAR Ugaritic
UZBK Uzbek

 

Courses

NEHC 10122 Nations in Crisis, Nations in Diaspora

This class compares between Iraqi and Palestinian histories. While Iraq was a strong state until the 2000s, and Palestine has yet to gain a sovereign statehood, both have much in common; both were British mandates; both maintained strong transnational relationships, and both suffered tremendously from Western intervention and modern forms of imperialism and colonization. Both Iraqis and Palestinians became radicalized in the postcolonial period and use radicalism to challenge both Arab states and Western domination in the region. We will discuss both structural similarities and actual interactions. Conceptually, we will work with ideas about nationalism, transnationalism and Diaspora and try to challenge narratives about Palestinian and/or Iraqi exceptionality.

2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 20004 Ancient Near Eastern Thought and Literature I: Mesopotamian Literature

This course gives an overview of the richness of Mesopotamian Literature (modern Iraq) written in the 3rd-1st millennium BC. We will read myths and epics written on clay tablets in the Sumerian and Akkadian language in English translation and discuss content and style, but also the religious, cultural and historic implications. Particular focus will be on the development of stories over time, the historical context of the literature and mythological figures. The texts treated cover not only the famous Epic of Gilgamesh, but also various legends of Sumerian and Akkadian kings, stories about Creation and World Order, and destruction. The topics covered range from the quest for immortality, epic heroes and monsters, sexuality and love.

2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 20012 Ancient Empires II: The Ottoman Empire

The Ottomans ruled in Anatolia, the Middle East, South East Europe and North Africa for over six hundred years. The objective of this course is to understand the society and culture of this bygone Empire whose legacy continues, in one way or another, in some twenty-five contemporary successor states from the Balkans to the Arabian Peninsula. The course is designed as an introduction to the Ottoman World with a focus on the cultural history of the Ottoman society. It explores identities and mentalities, customs and rituals, status of minorities, mystical orders and religious establishments, literacy and the use of the public sphere.

2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 20601 Islamic Thought and Literature I

This course explores the intellectual history of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century CE through the development and spread of its civilization in the middle of the tenth. (It is followed in the Winter and Spring quarters by Islamic Thought and Literature II & III). The course covers the historical events of the period in question, the emergence of Islam, and the life of Muhammad, and then moves on to explore Islamic thought and literature: scripture, theology, law, mysticism, philosophy, poetry, and belletrist prose. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in its creation. All readings are provided in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required.

Staff
2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 22500 Intersections of Gender and Race in the Modern Middle East

This course will explore how parts of the modern Middle East confronted questions and definitions of race and gender that were often first defined in the west. Organized thematically and covering a region that spans from North Africa to Iran, we will use the analytics of race and gender in an intersecting way to explore topics in the Middle East such as: colonialism, slavery, Arab Nationalism, Zionism, whiteness, racism, eugenics and scientific racism, and global solidarity movements. In so doing, our course will reveal that race is an operative category in the study of Middle East history, the historical racial logics operating in various Middle Eastern countries, and how race and gender intersect at the site of individual as well as the effects of this. This course is designed for anyone interested in race theory, gender theory, intersectionality, and Middle East history. By the end of this course, students will have the tools to think in a gendered and raced multidimensional way about aspects of Middle East history that do not often receive such an intersectional treatment. Additionally, they will develop the methodological tools to discern local race and gender logics that might be different than what they’re most familiar with. Finally, through coming to understand their relationship to the knowledge of our course, students will also be able to use the course as a springboard for continued learning in other courses that treat race, gender, and the Middle East.

2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 10101 Introduction to the Middle East

Prior knowledge of the Middle East not required. This course aims to facilitate a general understanding of some key factors that have shaped life in this region, with primary emphasis on modern conditions and their background, and to provide exposure to some of the region's rich cultural diversity. This course can serve as a basis for the further study of the history, politics, and civilizations of the Middle East.

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 20005 Ancient Near Eastern Thought and Literature: Anatolian Literature

The goal of this class is to get an overview of Hittite literature, as “defined” by the Hittites themselves, in the wider historical-cultural context of the Ancient Near East. Some of the most important questions we can ask ourselves in reading ancient texts are: why were they written down, why were they kept, for whom were they intended, and what do the answers to these questions (apart from the primary content of the texts themselves) tell us about — in our case — Hittite society?

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 20013 Ancient Empires 3

For most of the duration of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC), the ancient Egyptians were able to establish a vast empire and becoming one of the key powers within the Near East. This course will investigate in detail the development of Egyptian foreign policies and military expansion which affected parts of the Near East and Nubia. We will examine and discuss topics such as ideology, imperial identity, political struggle and motivation for conquest and control of wider regions surrounding the Egyptian state as well as the relationship with other powers and their perspective on Egyptian rulers as for example described in the Amarna letters.

Doug Inglis
2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 20055 Iran Between Constitutional and Islamic Revolutions: 1905-1979

Why did the Islamic Revolution take place? What were its causes? Iran was the site of two of the most important revolutions in the Middle East in the 20th century: the Constitutional (1905-1911) and Islamic Revolutions (1979). What was the historical relationship between them? This course is intended to answer these questions by exploring the history of Iran from late Qajar period until the early 1980s. We will examine the complex socio-economic and religio-political developments such as the Tobacco Protest, oil nationalization and student movements. We will emphasize long-term changes with a particular attention to the diverse actors and influences of the revolutions (tribes, landowners, foreign governments, merchants, religious scholars, political dissidents, urban poor, intellectuals). We will use a wide swath of primary sources including films, comic books, posters, footages and poems. No prior background in the subject is required.

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 20603 Islamic Thought and Literature III

This course covers the period from ca. 1750-1990, surveying works of literature, theology, philosophy, politics, history, etc., originally written in Arabic, Persian and Turkish, with specific emphasis at reform and modernization efforts and response to the same.

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 21202 Israeli Society through Media: The Four Tribes of Israel

From the outside, Israeli society might seem homogeneous and cohesive, bound together by the outside challenges and threats that have defined its eight decades of existence. However, in a recent public speech, President Reuben Rivlin warned Israelis of the tribal schisms tearing contemporary Israeli society and defined a ‘new Israeli order’ splitting the state into 4 groups: Arabs, ultra-Orthodox Jews, national religious Jews and secular Jews.

Using the president’s description of the “four tribes of Israel” as our framework, this course focuses on representations of the different groups in Israeli media and popular culture.
We will ask:
• What distinguishes each of these tribes?
• What is the narrative held by each tribe to describe itself and the 'other' tribes?
• How do the different tribes interact?
• Is modern Israel a successful immigration society or a failed experiment at creating a melting pot?

Using Israeli society as a case study, we will also consider prevailing ideas about mediation and reconciliation in fragmented societies.

If there is student interest, the course may include a section for advanced Hebrew learners.

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 20006 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature III

This course employs English translations of ancient Egyptian literary texts to explore the genres, conventions and techniques of ancient Egyptian literature. Discussions of texts examine how the ancient Egyptians conceptualized and constructed their equivalent of literature, as well as the fuzzy boundaries and subtle interplay between autobiography, history, myth, and fiction.

2021-2022 Winter

NEHC 20011 Ancient Empires 1: The Hittite Empire

This course introduces students to the Hittite Empire of ancient Anatolia. In existence from roughly 1650-1200 BCE, and spanning across modern Turkey and beyond, the Hittite Empire is one of the oldest and largest kingdoms of the ancient world. We will be examining their history and their political and cultural accomplishments through analysis of their written records – composed in Hittite, the world’s first recorded Indo-European language – and their archaeological remains. In the process, we will also be examining the concept of “empire” itself: What is an empire, and how do anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians study this unique kind of political formation? This course therefore has two goals. First, students should emerge with a broad familiarity of the historical trajectory of the Hittite Empire and its neighbors from the beginning of written records to the empire’s post-collapse cultural regeneration in the early first millennium BCE. Second, students should acquire a sense of imperialism as a general phenomenon for analysis. No prior knowledge of Anatolian or Near Eastern history is required.

2021-2022 Winter

NEHC 20085 BIG: Monumental Buildings and Sculptures in the Past and Present

The building of sculpted monuments and monumental architecture seems to be a universal human trait in all parts of the world, from the pyramids of ancient Egypt to the inuksuit cairns of the artic Inuit. What explains our urge to create monumental things? Why are monuments built, and how do we experience them? This course explores various answers to these questions through the disciplines that most frequently address monuments: archaeology, architecture, and art history. In the process, we will encounter a number of the major trends that have characterized the humanities and social sciences in the past century. This course examines humankind’s monumental record through a series of famous case studies from around the world to investigate the social significance of monuments in their original ancient or modern contexts. We will also determine whether lessons learned from th¬e past can be applied to the study of monuments today, and whether studying modern monuments – including those from our immediate surroundings in Chicago – can help us understand those of the past.

2021-2022 Winter

NEHC 20464 Did Climate Doom the Ancients?

This course offers a critical introduction to the study of the relationship between human societies and their environment, with a specific focus on situations of rapid climatic change (RCC) in early historical periods. Students will be invited to reflect on discourses about climate and its influence on human societies from Herodotus to the IPCC; on notions such as environmental or social determinism, possibilism and reductionism, societal collapse and resilience; and on recent academic trends at the crossroads of Humanities, Social Sciences and Environmental Studies. Alternating lectures (Tu) and discussion sessions (Th), the first half of the quarter introduces the notion of “climate,” from its origins in Classical Greece to the present, and how this concept has been (and still is) used to define human groups and their history; it also offers an overview of the theories and methods that shape our current understanding of climate change and its effect on societies (past and present). The second half of the quarter is devoted to case studies, with a specific focus on the Ancient Near East (from prehistory to the first millennium BCE). Students will be asked to present the readings and participate in classroom discussions; write an article summary; and conduct a personal research (midterm annotated bibliography and research proposal; final essay) on a topic of their choice, which needs not be limited to the Ancient Near East.

2021-2022 Winter

NEHC 20602 Islamic Thought & Literature II (ca. 950 - 1750)

What are the major developments in thinking and in literature in the Islamic world of the “middle periods” (c. 950-1800 C.E.). How did noteworthy Muslims at various points and places think through questions of life and death, man and God, faith and belief, the sacred and the profane, law and ethics, tradition vs. innovation, power and politics, class and gender, self and other? How did they wage war; make love; shape the built environment; eat and drink; tell stories; educate their youth; preserve the past; imagine the future; perform piety, devotion, and spirituality; construe the virtuous life and righteous community, etc.? How did these ideas change over time? What are some of the famous, funny, naughty, and nice books read in the pre-modern Muslim world? We will survey a broad geographic area stretching from Morocco and Iberia to the Maldives and India--even into the New World--through lectures, secondary readings, and discussion. We will engage with a variety of primary texts in English translation, as well as various visual, aural, and material artifacts.

2021-2022 Winter

NEHC 20766/ 30766 Shamans and Oral Poets of Central Asia

Anthropological/Ethnographic Survey of Pre-Modern Central Asian Cultures. This course explores the rituals, oral literature, and music associated with the nomadic cultures of Central Eurasia.

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 20010/30010 Social Theory and Ancient Studies

This course introduces the main paradigms of social thought and their philosophical basis and examines their impact on archaeology and historical studies. Theoretical views, whether acknowledged or merely implicit, strongly affect scholarly interpretations of empirical data. The data do not speak for themselves but are interpreted quite differently depending on the theoretical paradigm at work in the interpretation. In this course, we will focus on the ways in which various social theories have shaped scholarly views of social and economic life in the ancient Near East, in particular.

2021-2022 Winter

NEHC 20200/30200 Ancient Egyptian History

This course surveys the political, social, and economic history of ancient Egypt from pre-dynastic times (ca. 3400 B.C.) until the advent of Islam in the seventh century of our era.

2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 20692/30692 Armenian History through Art and Culture

Who are the Armenians and where do they come from? What is the cultural contribution of Armenians to their neighbors and overall world heritage? This crash-course will try to answer these and many other similar questions while surveying Armenian history and elements of culture (mythology, religion, manuscript illumination, art, architecture, etc.). It also will discuss transformations of Armenian identity and symbols of 'Armenianness' through time, based on such elements of national identity as language, religion, art, or shared history. Due to the greatest artistic quality and the transcultural nature of its monuments and artifacts, Armenia has much to offer in the field of Art History, especially when we think about global transculturation and appropriation among cultures as a result of peoples' movements and contacts. The course is recommended for students with interest in Armenian Studies or related fields, in Area or Civilizations Studies, Art and Cultural Studies, etc.

2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 20840/30840 Radical Islamic Pieties 1200-1600

Radical Islamic Pieties 1200-1600

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 30852 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Lawgiver-1

Seminar, Historical exploration of genesis and consolidation of Ottoman state, empire, 1300-1600

2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 30937 Nationalism & Colonialism in the Middle East

The seminar covers the history of the region during the 19th and 20th centuries. It looks at how the modern historiography of modern Middle Eastern studies shaped, and was shaped by, post-colonial studies, subaltern studies, and historical perceptions of urbanity, modernity, Orientlaism, and class. The class will pay heed to the fluid and constructed nature of Arab national culture, and the terminology used by Arab nationalists concerning "revival," and "rebirth." We will explore various "golden ages" Arab nationalists envisioned, like pre-Islamic Semitic empires, the first Islamic state under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad, the Ummayds, the Abbasids and Muslim Spain, as a way of analyzing the the constructed and temporal nature of national discourses. We will finally examine the distinction between Pan-Arab nationalism (qawmiyya), which considered Arab culture, history, and language as markers of one's national identity, and often strove for political unity with other Arab states; and territorial-patriotic nationalism (wataniyya), which hailed the national cultures of particular Arab states (Egyptian, Iraqi, Lebanese), focusing on their geography, archaeology, and history the key features of national identity.

2021-2022 Autumn

NEHC 21000/31000 Before the Zodiac: Astronomy and Mathematics as Ancient Culture

Taking as its central theme the cultural situatedness of the earliest systems of mathematics and astronomy -- from their origins in ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq, c. 3400 BCE) until the Common Era (CE) -- this course explores topics in mathematical language and script, metrology, geometry and topology, music theory, definitions of time, models of stars and planets, medical astrology, and pan-astronomical hermeneutics in literature and an ancient board game. Pushing against boundaries separating the humanities and social and physical sciences, students discover how histories of science and mathematics could be decisively shaped not merely by sensory experience or axiomatic definition, but also by ideas and imagery derived from the cultures, societies, and aesthetics of their day.

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 21012/31012 The Age of Empires in the Ancient Near East

This course offers a critical appraisal of the concepts of empire and imperialism in the historiography of ancient Mesopotamia and Iran to address political formations that developed (and vanished) during the first millennium BCE, with a focus on the Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and Achaemenid empires. This seminar will explore the nature of power, control, and resource management in these early empires, and how they served as the blueprint for the later imperial formations of Classical and Late Antiquity. Students will address a substantial part of Mesopotamian and Iranian history and study in depth some key historiography issues for the history of Antiquity. Primary documents will be read in translation and the course has no ancient language requirements. However, some readings of secondary literature in common academic languages (especially French and German) are to be expected. Students will be asked to present the readings and participate in classroom discussions; write a book review; and conduct a personal research on a topic of their choice (midterm annotated bibliography and research proposal; final essay). This course fulfills the requirements of a survey course in Mesopotamian civilization as defined by the Ancient PhD programs in NELC and the MA program in the CMES.

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 21215/31215 Abraham's Sacrifice of Isaac in Multiple Perspectives

The story of Abraham’s (near) sacrifice of his son, Isaac, found in Genesis 22:1-19, is one of the most influential and enduring stories in Western literature and art. It is part of the living tradition of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and its meaning and implications have been repeatedly explored in the communities defined by these religions, and has, in turn, helped to shape the self-perception of those communities. This course will consider the multiple perspectives from which this story has been viewed and the multiple interpretations which this story has generated, starting with its earliest incorporation into the Hebrew Bible, moving to its role in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and concluding with its influence on modern works. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

2021-2022 Spring

NEHC 20012 Ancient Empires-II (Ottoman Empire)

(HIST 15603, CLCV 25800)

The Ottomans ruled in Anatolia, the Middle East, South East Europe and North Africa for over six hundred years. The objective of this course is to understand the society and culture of this bygone Empire whose legacy continues, in one way or another, in some twenty-five contemporary successor states from the Balkans to the Arabian Peninsula. The course is designed as an introduction to the Ottoman World with a focus on the cultural history of the Ottoman society. It explores identities and mentalities, customs and rituals, status of minorities, mystical orders and religious establishments, literacy and the use of the public sphere.

NEHC 20601 Islamic Thought and Literature I

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 26151 History of Iraq in the 20th Century

The class explores the history of Iraq during the years 1917-2015. We will discuss the rise of the Iraqi nation state, Iraqi and Pan-Arab nationalism, and Iraqi authoritarianism. The class will focus on the unique histories of particular group in Iraqi society; religious groups (Shiis, Sunnis, Jews), ethnic groups (especially Kurds), classes (the urban poor, the educated middle classes, the landed and tribal elites), Iraqi women, and Iraqi tribesmen. Other classes will explore the ideologies that became prominent in the Iraqi public sphere, from communism to Islamic radicalism. We will likewise discuss how colonialism and imperialism shaped major trends in Iraqi history. The reading materials for the class are based on a combination of primary and secondary sources: we will read together Iraqi novels, memoirs and poems (in translation), as well as British and American diplomatic documents about to Iraq.

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 29899 Research Colloquium

Required of fourth-year students who are majoring in NELC. This is a workshop course designed to survey the fields represented by NELC and to assist students in researching andcompleting their Research Project. Students must get a Reading and Research form from their College Adviser and complete the form in order to be registered. Signatures are needed from the adviser and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Please indicate on the form that you wish to register for NEHC 29899 Section 01.

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 10101 Introduction to the Middle East

(HIST 15801)

Prior knowledge of the Middle East not required. This course aims to facilitate a general understanding of some key factors that have shaped life in this region, with primary emphasis on modern conditions and their background, and to provide exposure to some of the region's rich cultural diversity. This course can serve as a basis for the further study of the history, politics, and civilizations of the Middle East.

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 20005 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature: 2. Anatolian Literature

The goal of this class is to get an overview of Hittite literature, as “defined” by the Hittites themselves, in the wider historical-cultural context of the Ancient Near East. Some of the most important questions we can ask ourselves in reading ancient texts are: why were they written down, why were they kept, for whom were they intended, and what do the answers to these questions (apart from the primary content of the texts themselves) tell us about — in our case — Hittite society?

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 20013 Ancient Empires: The Egyptian Empire of the New Kingdom

For most of the duration of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BCE), the ancient Egyptians were able to establish a vast empire and become one of the key powers within the Near East. This course will investigate in detail the development of Egyptian foreign policies and military expansion, which affected parts of the Near East and Nubia. We will examine and discuss topics such as ideology, imperial identity, political struggle and motivation for conquest and control of wider regions surrounding the Egyptian state as well as the relationship with other powers and their perspective on Egyptian rulers as for example described in the Amarna letters.

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 20305 Language, Creation, and Translation in Jewish Thought and Literature

Starting with two stories from Genesis - the creation story and the story of the Tower of Babel in chapter 11 – this course considers the intertwined dynamics of language, creation, and translation in Jewish thought and literature. In addition to commentaries on both of these key texts, we will read philosophical and literary texts that illuminate the workings of language as a creative force and the dynamics of multilingualism and translation in the creation of Jewish culture. Through this lens, we will consider topics such as Gender and Sexuality, Jewish national identity, Zionism, the revival of the Hebrew language, Jewish responses to the Holocaust, and contemporary American Jewish culture.

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 20603 Islamic Thought and Literature III

This course covers the period from ca. 1700 to the present. It explores Muslim intellectuals’ engagement with tradition and modernity in the realms of religion, politics, literature, and law. We discuss debates concerning the role of religion in a modern society, perceptions of Europe and European influence, the challenges of maintain religious and cultural authenticity, and Muslim views of nation-states and nationalism in the Middle East. We also give consideration to the modern developments of transnational jihadism and the Arab Spring. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 20006 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-3. Egypt

This course employs English translations of ancient Egyptian literary texts to explore the genres, conventions and techniques of ancient Egyptian literature. Discussions of texts examine how the ancient Egyptians conceptualized and constructed their equivalent of literature, as well as the fuzzy boundaries and subtle interplay between autobiography, history, myth and fiction.

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 20011 ANCIENT EMPIRES 1: THE HITTITE EMPIRE

This course introduces students to the Hittite Empire of ancient Anatolia. In existence from roughly 1650-1200 BCE, and spanning across modern Turkey and beyond, the Hittite Empire is one of the oldest and largest kingdoms of the ancient world. We will be examining their history and their political and cultural accomplishments through analysis of their written records – composed in Hittite, the world’s first recorded Indo-European language – and their archaeological remains. In the process, we will also be examining the concept of “empire” itself: What is an empire, and how do anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians study this unique kind of political formation?

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 20602 Islamic Thought & Literature II

What were the famous and funny, nice and naughty, sacred and profane, scholarly and popular, silly and profound books read in the pre-modern Muslim world? How did people understand their status in the cosmos, their place in the world, their role in society, their relation to other peoples?
This course provides an overview of the thought and literature of the Islamic world as it developed across a broad geographic area stretching across the central Islamic lands from Morocco and Iberia to the Maldives and India – even into the New World – during the “middle periods” (c. 950 – 1750 C.E.). We engage with a wide variety of primary texts in English translation, as well as various visual, aural and material artifacts, contextualizing them through lectures, secondary readings and discussion. We trace a range of ideas, institutions, and literary works, considering them both on their own merits, and how they evolved in response to changing historical, demographic and religious circumstances. We explore the interaction of culture, ethnicity, history, politics and religion in the creation of individual Muslim identities and a multi-faceted Islamicate civilization (consisting of its intellectual milieu; literary, artistic and musical production; social organization; scientific, philosophical and theological thought; religious, educational, governmental, commercial and social institutions; geographic, ethnic, confessional, gender, social and spatial constructs). In brief, how did noteworthy Muslims at various points and places think through questions of life & death, man & God, faith & belief, the sacred & the profane, law & ethics, tradition vs. innovation, power & politics, class & gender, self & other? How did they wage war; make love; shape the built environment; eat & drink; tell stories; educate their youth; preserve the past; imagine the future; perform piety, devotion and spirituality; construe the virtuous life and righteous community, etc.? How did these ideas change over time?

Prerequisites

Islamic Thought & Lit-1 or Islamic History and Society -1 or the equivalent

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 21010 The Age of Innovation - Famous Firsts 5,000 Years Ago

"The first man on moon", "the first Thanksgiving," or "the first kiss"--our society is still fascinated and remembers the exact moment something happened for the first time. The history of the Ancient Near East, especially the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), is quite rich of such "firsts in history." From the moment, writing is discovered there is an abundance of textual record, covering the first documents about politics, law, and economics. The first private documents allow us a glimpse into what living and dying were like more than 5,000 years ago. This course will explore what the cultural conditions of those innovations were, how innovations transform societies, and why it matters to study ancient civilizations. By discovering primary sources (in English translation), the fascination of reading those texts for the "first" time will be experienced. Visits at the Oriental Institute Museum will link textual record and object-based inquiry.

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 29995 Research Project

In consultation with a faculty research adviser and with consent of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, students devote the equivalent of a one-quarter course to the preparation of their Research Project. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Please indicate that you wish to register for NEHC 29995 Section 01 with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 20692 Armenian History through Art and Culture

(HIST 25711, ARTH 20692)

Who are the Armenians and where do they come from? What is the cultural contribution of Armenians to their neighbors and overall world heritage? This crash-course will try to answer these and many other similar questions while surveying Armenian history and elements of culture (mythology, religion, manuscript illumination, art, architecture, etc.). It also will discuss transformations of Armenian identity and symbols of 'Armenianness' through time, based on such elements of national identity as language, religion, art, or shared history. Due to the greatest artistic quality and the transcultural nature of its monuments and artifacts, Armenia has much to offer in the field of Art History, especially when we think about global transculturation and appropriation among cultures as a result of peoples' movements and contacts. The course is recommended for students with interest in Armenian Studies or related fields, in Area or Civilizations Studies, Art and Cultural Studies, etc.

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 20004/30004 Ancient Near Eastern Thought and Literature I: Mesopotamian Literature

This course gives an overview of the richness of Mesopotamian Literature (modern Iraq) written in the 3rd-1st millennium BC. We will read myths and epics written on clay tablets in the Sumerian and Akkadian language in English translation and discuss content and style, but also the religious, cultural and historic implications. Particular focus will be on the development of stories over time, the historical context of the literature and mythological figures. The texts treated cover not only the famous Epic of Gilgamesh, but also various legends of Sumerian and Akkadian kings, stories about Creation and World Order, and destruction. The topics covered range from the quest for immortality, epic heroes and monsters, sexuality and love.

Prerequisites

None

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 20019/30019 Mesopotamian Law

NEHC 20019 (= NEHC 30019, SIGN 26022, LLSO 20019) Mesopotamian Law.

Ancient Mesopotamia -- the home of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians who wrote in cuneiform script on durable clay tablets -- was the locus of many of history's firsts. No development, however, may be as important as the formations of legal systems and legal principles revealed in contracts, trial records, and law collections (codes), among which The Laws of Hammurabi (r. 1792-1750 BC) stands as most important for understanding subsequent legal practice and thought of Mesopotamia's cultural heirs in the Middle East and Europe until today. This course will explore the rich source materials of the Laws and relevant judicial and administration documents (all in English translations) to investigate topics of legal, social, and economic practice including family formation and dissolution, crime and punishment (sympathetic or talionic eye for an eye, pecuniary, corporal), and procedure (contracts, trials, ordeals).

Prerequisites

none

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 30055 Topics in Medieval and Early Modern Historiography

The course will take its start from combing the “Histories” and “Politics” sections, and their commentaries, and listings of the recently published Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library of Sultan Bayezid II of 1502-1503 (Treasures of Knowledge:  An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502-1503/1503-1504), eds. G. Necipoglu, C. Kafadar, C.H. Fleischer, 2 vols., Brill 2019), to develop a map of the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish historiographical and political theoretical terrain that formed the foundation of the early modern Islamic understanding of history as science, and its mobilization in the interest of reestablishment of universalist sovereignty in the sixteenth century and beyond.  It will then proceed to selected readings in original languages, selections to be determined by linguistic capacities and focus of participants.

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 30120 The History of Muslim Histories

This course surveys Muslim history-writing in Arabic from its beginnings to the nineteenth century. Through reading the work of historians such as al-Baladhuri, al-Tabari, Miskawayh, Ibn ‘Asakir, Ibn Khaldun, and al-Jabarti, we investigate different genres of historical writing and examine the various methodologies employed by Muslim historians.

Prerequisites

3 years of Arabic or the equivalent

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 30123 Islamic Doxography

This course explores the Islamic tradition of doxography—the study of sectarian differences. We read works by al-Balkhi, (pseudo?)al-Jubba’i, al-Ash‘ari, al-Nawbakhti, al-Shahrastani, and Ibn Hazm to understand what the genre of doxography consisted of, which methods its authors deployed, and how they envisioned the Muslim community and sectarian identities within it.

Prerequisites

3 years of Arabic or the equivalent

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 20201/30201 Islamicate Civilization I: 600-950

This course covers the rise and spread of Islam, the Islamic empire under the Umayyad and early Abbasid caliphs, and the emergence of regional Islamic states from Afghanistan and eastern Iran to North Africa and Spain. The main focus will be on political, economic and social history.

NOTE TO UNDERGRADS: This course does not fulfill Civilization Studies requirements in the College.

Prerequisites

none

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 20202/30202 Islamicate Civilization II: 950-1750

This course, a continuation of Islamicate Civilization I, surveys intellectual, cultural, religious and political developments in the Islamic world from Andalusia to the South Asian sub-continent during the periods from ca. 950 to 1750. We trace the arrival and incorporation of the Steppe Peoples (Turks and Mongols) into the central Islamic lands; the splintering of the Abbasid Caliphate and the impact on political theory; the flowering of literature of Arabic, Turkic and Persian expression; the evolution of religious and legal scholarship and devotional life; transformations in the intellectual and philosophical traditions; the emergence of Shi`i states (Buyids and Fatimids); the Crusades and Mongol conquests; the Mamluks and Timurids, and the "gunpowder empires" of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Moghuls; the dynamics of gender and class relations; etc. This class partially fulfills the requirement for MA students in CMES, as well as for NELC majors and PhD students.

NOTE TO UNDERGRADS: This course does not fulfill Civilization Studies requirements in the College.

Prerequisites

Islamicate Civilization I (NEHC 20201) or Islamic Thought & Literature-1 (NEHC 20601), or the equivalent

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 20203/30203 Islamicate Civilization III: 1750-Present

This course covers the period from ca. 1750 to the present, focusing on Western military, economic, and ideological encroachment; the impact of such ideas as nationalism and liberalism; efforts at reform in the Islamic states; the emergence of the "modern" Middle East after World War I; the struggle for liberation from Western colonial and imperial control; the Middle Eastern states in the cold war era; and local and regional conflicts.

NOTE TO UNDERGRADS: This course does not fulfill Civilization Studies requirements in the College.

Prerequisites

Islamicate Civilization II (NEHC 20202) or Islamic Thought & Literature-2 (NEHC 20602), or the equivalent

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 20235/30235 Imaging Armenia: Diaspora and the Constitution of Subjectivity

What does it mean to be “Armenian”? Despite centuries of dispersion and displacement, there has remained, in the Armenian diaspora, a sense of Armenian-ness—a sense, in other words, of being Armenian. This course will serve as an interrogation of and meditation on what that sense of being has looked like across time and space, as seen through the lens of pivotal musical and other artistic works from the post-genocide diaspora. Through in-depth analyses of these works and the discourses surrounding them, this course will trace the emergence, articulation, and negotiation of Armenian diasporic subjectivities and the ways in which those subjectivities have emerged in relation to and in conversation with power structures both internal and external to the Armenian communities under discussion. Diaspora, then, will be approached not as a fixed unit of analysis, but as something that emerges and is sustained through complex relationships and negotiations with sociopolitical forces both within and outside the diasporic community. Through this course, we will see that artistic expression in the Armenian diaspora functions as a site of agency: a site in which the question of what it is to be Armenian is explored in ways that shape, challenge, and upend notions and understandings of diasporic identity.

Sylvia Alajaji
2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 30455 Topics in Semitic Studies

In this course, we will investigate and discuss prevalent topics in the philological and linguistic study of Semitic languages. The weekly topics will touch on the major sub-categories of grammar and focus on methodology.

Prerequisites

Introduction to Comparative Semitics or equivalent (e.g. general intro to Linguistics). Consent of Instructor required.

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 20605/30605 Colloquium: Sources for the Study of Islamic History

This course is designed to acquaint students with the basic problems and concepts as well as the sources and methodology for the study of premodern Islamicate history. Sources will be read in English translation and the tools acquired will be applied to specific research projects to be submitted as term papers.

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 20658/30658 Narrating Conflict in Modern Arabic Literature

This course is an exploration of conflict in the Arab world through literature, film and new media. In this course, we will discuss the influence of independence movements, wars, and revolts on Arabic literature: how do writers write about, or film, conflict? How does conflict affect language itself? How do these texts engage with issues of trauma and bearing witness? To answer these questions, we will look at a number of key moments of conflict in the Arab world, including the Arab-Israeli conflicts, the Algerian war of independence, the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the Lebanese and Iraq wars, and the ongoing war in Syria. Rather than follow a historical chronology of these events, we will read these texts thematically, beginning with texts that seek to present themselves as direct, sometimes eye-witness, accounts and then moving on to narratives that complicate the relationship between conflict and its narration.

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC /30659 The Task of the Self Translator

Walter Benjamin famously wrote that a translation issues from the “afterlife” of the original: “For a translation comes later than the original, and since the important works of world literature never find their chosen translators at the time of their origins, their translation marks their stage of continued life.” This graduate seminar focuses on the case of multilingual writers and their self-translations to raise questions concerning the temporality, directionality, and “afterlife” of translated works. The figure of the self-translator challenges models of translation and cross-cultural circulation that assume various cultural and historical gaps between the source and its translation. For one, self-translation calls into question the notions of originality or “the original” and of “fidelity,” and requires us to consider the overlap between translation and rewriting. What brought writers to produce the same texts in different languages, at times for similar audiences of multilingual readers? What theories of translation or world literature might be helpful when approaching the case of Jewish self-translation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? We will discuss these issues also in the context of comparative Jewish studies, considering the difference between internal, Hebrew-Yiddish, self-translation, and the translation between Hebrew or Yiddish and a third “non-Jewish” language, whether European or Middle-Eastern.

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 20737/30737 Imperialism before the Age of Empires?

This course offers a critical analysis of the use of concepts such as empire and imperialism in the historiography of ancient Mesopotamia to address political formations that developed (and vanished) from the Early to Late Bronze Ages (mid-3rd to late-2nd millennium BCE). Drawing from theoretical studies on imperialism and the imperial constructions that developed in the Iron Age and beyond (starting with the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires), this seminar will explore the nature of power, control, and resource management in these early formations, and how they qualify (or not) as imperial policies. Students will address a substantial part of Mesopotamian history (from the Sargonic down to the Middle Assyrian and Babylonian periods) and study in depth some key historiographical issues for the history of Early Antiquity. Primary documents will be read in translation and the course has no ancient language requirements. However, readings of secondary literature in common academic languages (especially French and German) are to be expected.
This course fulfills the requirements of a survey course in Mesopotamian civilization as defined by the Ancient PhD programs in NELC and MA program in the CMES.

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 30755 Research Topics in Ottoman History

This course will discuss current trends in research for 19th and early 20th C Ottoman and Turkish history

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 20765/30765 Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia

This course explores the musical traditions of the peoples of Central Asia, both in terms of historical development and cultural significance. Topics include the music of the epic tradition, the use of music for healing, instrumental genres, and Central Asian folk and classical traditions. Basic field methods for ethnomusicology are also covered. Extensive use is made of recordings of musical performances and of live performances in the area.

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 30852 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent

This seminar/colloquim focuses on the transformation of the Muslim Ottoman principality into an imperial entity--after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453--that laid claim to inheritance of Alexandrine, Roman/Byzantine, Mongol/Chinggisid, and Islamic models of Old World Empire at the dawn of the early modern era. Usually taught as a two-quarter reseach seminar, this year only the first quarter is offered, with a 15-20 paper due at the end. Special attention is paid to the transformation of Ottoman imperialism in the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver (1520-1566), who appeared to give the Empire its "classical" form. Topics include: the Mongol legacy; the reformulation of the relationship between political and religious institutions; mysticism and the creation of divine kingship; Muslim-Christian competition (with special reference to Spain and Italy) and the formation of early modernity; the articulation of bureaucratized hierarchy; and comparison of Muslim Ottoman, Iranian Safavid, and Christian European imperialisms. The quarter-long colloquium comprises a chronological overview of major themes in Ottoman history, 1300-1600. In addition to papers, students will be required to give an oral presentation on a designated primary or secondary source in the course of the seminar.

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 30891 Sem: Intro to the Ottoman Press-1

Course introduces students to the historical context and specific characteristics of the mass printed press (newspapers, cultural and political journals, etc.) in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th C. We will investigate issues such as content, censorship, production, readership and distribution through secondary reading and the examination of period publications.

2020-2021 Winter

NEHC 30892 Introduction to the Ottoman Press-2

Students will develop their research papers, and we will continue to explore aspects of the late Ottoman press.

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 30937 Nationalism & Colonialism in the Middle East

This graduate seminar offers a historiographical overview of the approaches to sect, religion, minority and gender in colonial and postcolonial contexts in the Middle East. We will discuss the conceptualizations of nationalism by different social scientists; explore the characteristics of Iranian, Turkish and Arab nationalism[s] in the years 1860-1979; examine the history of science and technology in the region and its influence on perceptions of Islamic modernity,; and ask whether sectarianism an old phenomenon or a new one, paying heed to the relationship between minorities and religions in the region.

2020-2021 Autumn

NEHC 21000/31000 Before the Zodiac: Astronomy and Mathematics as Ancient Culture

Taking as its central theme the cultural situatedness of the earliest systems of mathematics and astronomy-from their origins in ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq, c. 3400 BCE) until the Common Era (CE)-this course explores topics in mathematical language and script, metrology, geometry and topology, music theory, definitions of time, models of stars and planets, medical astrology, and pan-astronomical hermeneutics in literature and an ancient board game. Pushing against boundaries separating the humanities and social and physical sciences, students discover how histories of science and mathematics could be decisively shaped not merely by sensory experience or axiomatic definition, but also by ideas and imagery derived from the cultures, societies, and aesthetics of their day.

Prerequisites

none

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 21215/31215 Abraham's Sacrifice of Isaac in Multiple Perspectives

The story of Abraham’s (near) sacrifice of his son, Isaac, found in Genesis 22:1-19, is one of the most influential and enduring stories in Western literature and art.  It is part of the living tradition of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and its meaning and implications have been repeatedly explored in the communities defined by these religions, and has, in turn, helped to shape the self-perception of those communities.  This course will consider the multiple perspectives from which this story has been viewed and the multiple interpretations which this story has generated, starting with its earliest incorporation into the Hebrew Bible, moving to its role in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and concluding with its influence on modern works.  No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Prerequisites

None

2020-2021 Spring

NEHC 20012 Ancient Empires II

The Ottomans ruled in Anatolia, the Middle East, South East Europe and North Africa for over six hundred years. The objective of this course is to understand the society and culture of this bygone Empire whose legacy continues, in one way or another, in some twenty-five contemporary successor states from the Balkans to the Arabian Peninsula. The course is designed as an introduction to the Ottoman World with a focus on the cultural history of the Ottoman society. It explores identities and mentalities, customs and rituals, status of minorities, mystical orders and religious establishments, literacy and the use of the public sphere.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20692 Armenian History through Art and Culture

This 10-week crash-course surveys Armenian history and elements of culture (religion, mythology and music, manuscript illumination, art and architecture) as well as offer a mosaic of traditions and customs (festivals and feasts, birth and wedding rituals, funerary cult) of Armenia. It also discusses transformations of Armenian identity and symbols of ‘Armenianness’ through time (especially in Soviet and post-Soviet eras) based on such elements of national identity, as language, religion, art or shared history. Recommended for students with interest in Armenian Studies or related fields, in Area or Civilizations Studies, Art and Cultural Studies, etc.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 22010 Jewish Civilization I: Ancient Beginnings to Early Medieval Period

Jewish Civilization is a two-quarter sequence that explores the development of Jewish culture and tradition from its ancient beginnings through its rabbinic and medieval transformations to its modern manifestations. Through investigation of primary texts-biblical, Talmudic, philosophical, mystical, historical, documentary, and literary-students will acquire a broad overview of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness while reflecting in greater depth on major themes, ideas, and events in Jewish history. The Autumn course will deal with antiquity to the early medieval periods. Its readings will include works from the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, the Rabbis, Yehudah Halevy, and Maimonides. All sections of each course will share a common core of readings; individual instructors will supplement with other materials. It is recommended, though not required, that students take these two courses in sequence. Students who register for the Autumn Quarter course will automatically be pre-registered for the winter segment.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 29899 Research Colloquium

Required of fourth-year students who are majoring in NELC. This is a workshop course designed to survey the fields represented by NELC and to assist students in researching andcompleting their Research Project. Students must get a Reading and Research form from their College Adviser and complete the form in order to be registered. Signatures are needed from the adviser and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Please indicate on the form that you wish to register for NEHC 29899 Section 01.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 10101 Intro to the Middle East

Prior knowledge of the Middle East not required. This course aims to facilitate a general understanding of some key factors that have shaped life in this region, with primary emphasis on modern conditions and their background, and to provide exposure to some of the region's rich cultural diversity. This course can serve as a basis for the further study of the history, politics, and civilizations of the Middle East.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20013 Ancient Empires III

For most of the duration of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC), the ancient Egyptians were able to establish a vast empire and becoming one of the key powers within the Near East. This course will investigate in detail the development of Egyptian foreign policies and military expansion which affected parts of the Near East and Nubia. We will examine and discuss topics such as ideology, imperial identity, political struggle and motivation for conquest and control of wider regions surrounding the Egyptian state as well as the relationship with other powers and their perspective on Egyptian rulers as for example described in the Amarna letters.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20035 Babylonian Knowledge: The Mesopotamian Way of Thought

This course has two goals. The first is an interior goal, to introduce students to the major categories of knowledge created and employed in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, as the Mesopotamian “core curriculum.” This was the corpus of material that had to be mastered by scribes of the Neo-Sumerian and Neo-Assyrian periods, including proverbs, lists, omens, geographies, medicine, magic, law, mathematics, history, royal wisdom, and accounting.

The second goal is “exterior”: to examine the epistemological precepts on which knowledge was constructed. What was held to be knowable? What methods and techniques were used to identify and justify knowledge as valid or authentic? What roles did copying, editing, authorship, and literacy play in the production of knowledge texts? How the organization and preservation of texts create canons and curricula?

No prior knowledge of Mesopotamian history or literature is required. Students are asked to think with the primary texts, not to demonstrate mastery of them.

Seth Richardson
2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20085 BIG: Monumental Buildings and Sculptures in the Past and Present

(SIGN 26000)

The building of sculpted monuments and monumental architecture seems to be a universal human trait in all parts of the world, from the pyramids of ancient Egypt to the inuksuit cairns of the arctic Inuit. What explains our urge to create monumental things? Why are monuments built, and how do we experience them? This course explores various answers to these questions through the disciplines that most frequently address monuments: archaeology, architecture, and art history. In the process, we will encounter a number of the major theoretical trends that have characterized the humanities and social sciences in the past century. This course examines humankind’s monumental record through a series of famous case studies from around the world to investigate the social significance of monuments in their original ancient or modern contexts. We will also determine whether lessons learned from th¬e past can be applied to the study of monuments today, and whether studying modern monuments – including those from our immediate surroundings in Chicago – can help us understand those of the past.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20214 Devils and Demons: Agents of Evil in the Bible and Ancient World

While the words “devil,” “demon,” and “Satan” usually conjure the image of a horned and hoofed archfiend, this has not always been the case. Students in this course will discover both the origins of and complications to dominant popular images of “the Devil” by engaging ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean texts, including Mesopotamian literature, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and other early Christian and Jewish texts. We will discuss Satan’s origins as the biblical god Yahweh’s henchman, Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman conceptions of subordinate divine entities, Hellenistic and Roman-period tendencies towards cosmic dualism, and much more. Students will also have the opportunity to explore pop culture and political discourse to examine how Biblical and other ancient demons productively recur in such contexts. A guiding question will be why the category of “demon” has proven so productive and necessary to diverse religious worldviews and what the common features and actions of these figures reveal about persistent human anxieties.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20222 Masculinities in pre-modern Middle Eastern Literature

Have you ever wondered what men looked like, how they lived and loved in the pre-modern Middle East? In this class, we will encounter cuckolded husbands, muscular heroes, angry kings, mad lovers, and chivalrous bandits – all fictional. We will analyze how masculinities are constructed in selected passages of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish literature in translation, and evaluate normative expectations, caricatures, and anxieties about masculinities in the cultural consciousness of the pre-modern Middle East.
In this course, you will become familiar with theoretical principles of the study of masculinities as well as acquire tools for literary analysis and close reading. Case studies will be drawn from a variety of literary sources, such as the Thousand and One Nights (Alf Layla wa-layla), the Persian Book of Kings (Shāhnāmeh), the love story of Laylā and Majnūn, as well as other texts.

Alexandra Hoffmann
2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20345 Marxists, Maoists, and the Middle East: the Arab left in the twentieth century

In this seminar, we will look at the development of political leftism in the Arab world over the course of the twentieth century. Like many of their comrades around the globe in the same period, Arab leftists adopted various forms of Marxism, Leninism, and, later, Maoism to address local political and social issues, particularly those stemming from continued foreign imperialism and local autocratic (bourgeois) rule in the region. In the transition from formal colonialism to Cold War politics, these individuals experimented with local communist parties, student unions, and armed guerrilla (fida’yyin) groups, often facing violent reactions from regional and foreign authorities. Arab leftists also contributed to and were shaped by global revolutionary discourses as they engaged in fierce intellectual debates about the nature of socio-economic change, labor, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Vietnam War, and contemporary anti-colonial ideals regarding “Third World” solidarity.
2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 10300 Ancient Middle Eastern Religions

This course is an introduction to the religions of the ancient Middle East—Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia—with an emphasis on the variety to these religions and the ways regional religious expression and practice changed over time. We will read several famous myths, hymns, and other narrowly “religious” texts—including excerpts from the Akkadian creation myth Enūma eliš, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and a Hittite myth of a disappearing god. But we will also explore visual art and other material culture sources and we will read letters, treaties, and other more mundane texts to define how these sources differently show how religion manifested “on the ground.” The social and political resonances of religion will be stressed, with examples ranging from kings dubiously claiming the rediscovery of important religious texts to international theft of divine statues. We will discuss the influence of ancient Middle Eastern religions on that of neighboring regions, especially the Greco-Roman world. Students will pursue creative projects with the goal of more deeply understanding ancient Middle Eastern religions; these may include adapting a known religious phenomenon to a different medium or genre or even fabricating new texts, images, or practices while demonstrating their innovative benefits and historical connections to skeptical adherents.

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 20012 Ancient Empires II

This course introduces students to the Hittite Empire of ancient Anatolia. In existence from roughly 1750-1200 BCE, and spanning across modern Turkey and beyond, the Hittite Empire is one of the oldest and largest empires of the ancient world. We will be examining their history and their political and cultural accomplishments through analysis of their written records – composed in Hittite, the world’s first recorded Indo-European language – and their archaeological remains. In the process, we will also be examining the concept of “empire” itself: What is an empire, and how do anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians study this unique kind of political formation?

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 20344 Modern Shi'a Thought and Identity

This course provides an interdisciplinary survey of modern Shi’a thought and identity in the Middle East. It complicates dominant narratives and conventional understandings of sectarianism, Shi'a Islam, and geopolitical conflict in the Middle East by differentiating between distinct yet overlapping factors such as state competition (i.e. between Iran and Saudi Arabia), historical legacies of empire and state building, and actual substantive theological and intellectual differences between Shi’a and Sunni Islam. It looks at the origins of Shi’ism and who the Shi’a are today as the second largest denomination within Islam including their diverse ethnic, geographic, cultural, and political backgrounds. The course will focus on modern intellectual and political movements in Shi’a thought from the post-colonial period onwards including Shi'a revivalist thought and national liberation movements in the early 20th century; Shi’a clerical innovation and institutions (including wilayat al-faqih, the theocratic system dominant in Iran); mass pilgrimage practices and sociological changes in the Shi’a world; Iran's Islamic revolution; and, the transnational politics of Shi’a political parties and armed movements, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Sha’abi), and Yemen’s Ansarallah (the Houthis). The course will also cover the “Axis of Resistance” that has Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and other partners engaging in new socio-political and intellectual paradigms in the Middle East.

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 29995 Research Project

In consultation with a faculty research adviser and with consent of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, students devote the equivalent of a one-quarter course to the preparation of their Research Project. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Please indicate that you wish to register for NEHC 29995 Section 01 with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 20001/30001 Ancient Near Eastern History and Society I

This course surveys the political, social, and economic history of ancient Egypt from pre-dynastic times (ca. 3400 B.C.) until the advent of Islam in the seventh century of our era.

Brian Muhs, Robert Ritner
2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20002/30002 Ancient Near Eastern History and Society 2: Mesopotamia

This course offers an overview of the history of Mesopotamia from its origins down to the Achaemenid and Hellenistic periods, when Mesopotamia became part of larger empires. Weeks 1 to 5, preceding mid-term exam, cover the periods ranging from the late Chalcolithic down to the end of the Middle Bronze age (late fifth to mid-second millennia BCE). Weeks 6 to 10 study the developments of the Late Bronze and Iron Ages, from the period of the archives of El-Amarna in the fourteenth century BCE down to the time of Alexander the Great in the late fourth century BCE.

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 20003/30003 History and Society of the Ancient Near East - 3

This course introduces students to the history of ancient Anatolia and its neighbors from the first historical texts around 2000 BCE, with a short detour through prehistory and the appearance of Proto-Indo-European culture, to the arrival of Alexander the Great. Some of the famous ancient Near Eastern civilizations that we encounter include the Assyrians, Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, and Israelites. We will focus on the information provided by inscriptions - especially political and socioeconomic history - as well as the relevant archaeological and art historical records. No prior knowledge of Anatolian or Near Eastern history is required.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20004/30004 Ancient Near Eastern Thought and Literature I: Mesopotamian Literature

This course gives an overview of the richness of Mesopotamian Literature (modern Iraq) written in the 3rd-1st millennium BC. We will read myths and epics written on clay tablets in the Sumerian and Akkadian language in English translation and discuss content and style, but also the religious, cultural and historic implications. Particular focus will be on the development of stories over time, the historical context of the literature and mythological figures. The texts treated cover not only the famous Epic of Gilgamesh, but also various legends of Sumerian and Akkadian kings, stories about Creation and World Order, and destruction. The topics covered range from the quest for immortality, epic heroes and monsters, sexuality and love.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20005/30005 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature. Anatolian/Hittite Literature

This course will provide an overview of Anatolian/Hittite literature, as "defined" by the Hittites themselves, in the wider historical-cultural context of the Ancient Near East. In the course of discussions, we will try to answer some important questions about Hittite inscriptions, such as: why were they written down, why were they kept, for whom were they intended, and what do the answers to these questions (apart from the primary content of the texts themselves) tell us about Hittite society?

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20034/30034 From the Harem to Helem: Gender and Sexuality in the Modern Middle East

This course will provide a historical and theoretical survey of issues pertaining to gender and sexuality in the modern Middle East. First, we will outline the colonial legacies of gender politics and gendered discourses in modern Middle Eastern history. We will discuss orientalist constructions of the harem and the veil (Allouche, Laila Ahmed, Lila Abu-Loghod), and their contested afterlives across the Middle East. We will also explore colonial (homo)sexuality, and attendant critiques (Najmabadi, Massad). We will pay especial attention to local discourses about gender and sexuality, and trouble facile assumptions of “writing back” while attending to the various specificities of local discourses of everyday life across various sites of the Middle East. Eschewing reductive traps for more nuanced explorations of the specifics of life in Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, or Tehran – as well as to rural areas – we will show how gender and sexuality
are constructed and practiced in these locales. In addition to foundational scholarly texts in the field, we will also engage with an array of cultural texts (films, novels, poetry, comics) and – where possible – have conversations with activists who are working in these sites via Skype/teleconferencing.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20092/30092 Classical Arabic Linguistics

This course delves into debates in Arabic linguistics of the classical period (before the fifteenth century) on questions such as, What is the origin of language? How does language work? How do languages relate to one another? Where does the Arabic language come from? Is the distinction between literal and figurative uses of language real? We read writings by seminal Arabic linguists, such as al-Tabari, Abu Hilal al-‘Askari, Ibn Faris, al-Qadi ‘Abd al-Jabbar, and Ibn Taymiyya, addressing not only linguistics proper but also topics in fields such as Quranic exegesis, theology, and legal theory. We also discuss key works of secondary scholarship on the subject. Undergraduate students by instructor permission only.

Prerequisites

3 years of Arabic or the equivalent

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20433/30433 Israeli Society from a Sociological Point of View

This course integrates between sociological themes such as stratification, gender, culture, ethnicity, race, religion, political sociology and economy in order to study the Israeli society with all its diversity. Israeli society is a unique case for sociological study. A young nation which on the one side has a successful economy, but on the other side is dealing with an ongoing conflict with its Arab and Palestinian neighbors. Inequality rates in Israel are among the highest in the OECD, based on class, gender, ethnicity and nationality. Israel is exhibiting opposite trends between promoting gay rights and becoming more religious. In its 70th year Israel is facing deep social and political dilemmas which intertwine with major sociological themes. This course wishes to reveal these dilemmas and their deep complexities. The course will be divided to meetings which in each of them sociological themes and theories will be explored and problematized vis-à-vis Israeli society.

Noa Lavie
2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20435/30435 From Seclusion to Global Success: Creativity and Politics on Israeli Television

Television is one of the major media phenomena of the 20th and 21st centuries. Television had a significant part in the building of the modern nation-state and is, nowadays, one of the main manifestations of global capitalism. The Israeli television market went from one public channel, dominated by the government, to become a leading exporter of television content to the Western World. During the semester we will review the political history of global and Israeli TV, we will learn to distinguish between different TV genres such as soap opera, sitcom, "reality" TV and quality drama series. We will explain how the growth of various creative products and different genres reflected both the political and economic zeitgeist. Likewise, we will focus on how the unique characteristics of the Israeli television market brought about its international success. We will focus on the narratives of Israeli successful drama series such as Fauda (a series about an under-cover IDF unit aired on Netflix), In treatment (a psychological drama which was aired on HBO) and Homeland (an Israeli action format aired on Show-time) and try to explain their global success. We will also focus on how the various political minorities in Israel are represented on television and the political and social impact of their representation. In addition, we will discuss concepts such as "quality" and "trash" TV as concepts reflecting social, political and economic struggles. We will also discuss the changes which the digital era is bringing about and its impact on television at large and television in Israel.

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 20501/30501 Islamic History and Society I

This course covers the period from ca. 600 to 1100, including the rise and spread of Islam, the Islamic empire under the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs, and the emergence of regional Islamic states from Afghanistan and eastern Iran to North Africa and Spain.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20502/30502 Islamic History and Society II

This course is the continuation of Islamic History and Society 1 and presumes a familiarity of early Islamic history, 600-1100. This course covers the period from roughly 1000 to 1750 and deals with, among other topics, the coming of the steppe people (Turks and Mongols), the Mongol successor states, and the rise of the great early modern Islamic empires (Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals), the relation of Islamic political entities with Russia and China. Mid-term and final exam required for Undergraduates

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 20503/30503 Islamic History and Society III

This course covers the period from ca. 1750 to the present, focusing on Western military, economic, and ideological encroachment; the impact of such ideas as nationalism and liberalism; efforts at reform in the Islamic states; the emergence of the "modern" Middle East after World War I; the struggle for liberation from Western colonial and imperial control; the Middle Eastern states in the cold war era; and local and regional conflicts.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20504/30504 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is a complex anthology of disparate texts and reflects a diversity of religious, political, and historical perspectives from ancient Israel, Judah, and Yehud. Because this collection of texts continues to play an important role in modern religions, new meanings are often imposed upon it. In this course, we will attempt to read biblical texts apart from modern preconceptions about them. We will also contextualize their ideas and goals through comparison with texts from ancient Mesopotamia, Syro-Palestine, and Egypt. Such comparisons will demonstrate that the Hebrew Bible is fully part of the cultural milieu of the Ancient Near East. To accomplish these goals, we will read a significant portion of the Hebrew Bible in English, along with representative selections from secondary literature. We will also spend some time thinking about the nature of biblical interpretation.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20601/30601 Islamic Thought & Literature I

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20602/30602 Islamic Thought and Literature II

What are the major developments in thinking and in literature in the Islamic world of the “middle periods” (c. 950 – 1800 C.E.). How did noteworthy Muslims at various points and places think through questions of life & death, man & God, faith & belief, the sacred & the profane, law & ethics, tradition vs. innovation, power & politics, class & gender, self & other? How did they wage war; make love; shape the built environment; eat & drink; tell stories; educate their youth; preserve the past; imagine the future; perform piety, devotion and spirituality; construe the virtuous life and righteous community, etc.? How did these ideas change over time? What are some of the famous, funny, naughty and nice books read in the pre-modern Muslim world?
We will survey a broad geographic area stretching from Morocco and Iberia to the Maldives and India – even into the New World – through lectures, secondary readings and discussion. You will engage with a variety of primary texts in English translation, as well as various visual, aural and material artifacts. How do the ideas, institutions, and literary works evolve in response to changing historical, demographic and religious circumstances? How do culture, ethnicity, gender, history, politics and religion interact to create individual Muslim identities and a multi-faceted intellectual milieu (consisting of the scientific, philosophical and theological production; the religious, educational, governmental, commercial and social institutions; the literary, artistic, musical, and constructs which together make up "Islamic Civilization).

Prerequisites

Islamic Thought & Lit-1 or

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 20603/30603 Islamic thought and literature III

This class explores works of Muslim intellectuals, who interpreted various aspects of Islamic philosophy, political theory and law in the modern age. We will look at diverse interpretations concerning the role of religion in a modern society, at secularized and historicized approaches to religion and at the critique of both religious establishments and nation states as articulated by Middle Eastern intellectuals. Consequently, we will contextualize concepts like “woman,” “nation,” “East” and “jihad” as we follow the meanings assigned to these conceptions by different intellectuals at different historical moments. The class likewise examines the ways in which Muslim reformers synthesized cultural trends to revive the Islamic faith in face of Western economic and political hegemony. Our debate will focus on the influence of the colonial settings on the formation of these new readings and on the ways in which Muslim thinkers both appropriated and critiqued Western notions of civilization and guidance. We will consider the impact of these new ideas on political theory, and in particular on the political systems which emerged in the modern Middle East. Finally, the class will scrutinize the ways in which Muslim writers manipulated new means of communication such as the print media in order to propagate their ideas regarding the nature of their state and society. Generally, we shall discuss secondary literature first and the primary sources later.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20605/30605 Sources for the Study of Islamic History

This course is designed to acquaint the student with the basic problems and concepts as well as the sources and methodology for the study of the premodern history of the Islamic world. Sources will be read in translation and discuss in class. The concepts and tools acquired will be applied to specific research projects to be submitted as term papers.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20613/30613 Dreams in the Ancient World

Dreams belong to the universals of human existence as human beings have always dreamt and will continue to dream across time and cultures. The questions where do dreams come from and how to unravel a dream have always preoccupied the human mind. In this course we will focus on dreams in the Greco-Roman and Greco-Egyptian cultural environments. We will cover dreams from three complementary perspectives: dreams as experience, dream interpretation and dream theory. The reading materials will include: (a) a selection of dream narratives from different sources, literary texts as well as documentary accounts of dreams; (b) texts which document the forms and contexts of dream interpretation in the Greco-Roman and Greco-Egyptian cultures and (c) texts which represent attempts to approach dreams from a more general perspective by among others explaining their genesis and defining dream-types.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 30625 Approaches to the Study of the Ancient Near East

This is a required introductory course for all CMES ancient-track students.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20630/30630 Introduction to Islamic Philosophy

This course offers an introduction to the terms and concepts current in Arabic philosophical writings in the classical period of Islamic thought (roughly 9th to 17th century). It begins with the movement to translate Greek texts into Arabic and the debate among Muslims about the validity of philosophy versus revelation. From a close reading of key works (in English) by important philosophers such as al-Kindī, al-Rāzī, al-Sijistānī, al-Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), al-Ghazzālī, Ibn Bājja, Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Suhrawardī, and Mullā Ṣadrā, a series of lectures will follow the career of philosophy in the Islamic world, first as a 'foreign' science and then, later, as selectively rejected but also substantially accepted as a natural component of sophisticated discourse.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 30631 Approaches to the Study of the Middle East

The course introduces beginning graduate students to the range of basic resources, methods, and analytical tools that must be mastered by those engaging in the study of the Islamic Middle East.  As such, it covers the period from the seventh century to the present and is focused on developing professional skills necessary for successful completion of a master's or doctoral program.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 30643 Topics in Medieval Islamic Social History

The course reviews the issues and scholarship on various facets of the social history of the Islamic Near East, ca. 700-1500 CE), including Patterns of Social Organization (“class,” tribal or kinship ties, professional ties, ethnicity, etc.), the role of pastoral nomadism in Near Eastern societies, non-Muslim communities and their relations with Muslims, Women and Gender issues, Technology and Social Change, Historical Demography, and Urbanism.

Prerequisites

Islamic History & society or equivalent.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 30692 Armenian History through Art and Culture

This 10-week crash-course surveys Armenian history and elements of culture (religion, mythology and music, manuscript illumination, art and architecture) as well as offer a mosaic of traditions and customs (festivals and feasts, birth and wedding rituals, funerary cult) of Armenia. It also discusses transformations of Armenian identity and symbols of 'Armenianness' through time (especially in Soviet and post-Soviet  eras) based on such elements of national identity, as language, religion, art or shared history. Recommended for students with interest in Armenian Studies or related fields, in Area or Civilizations Studies, Art and Cultural Studies, etc.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20766/30766 Shamans and Oral Poets of Central Asia

This course explores the rituals, oral literature, and music associated with the nomadic cultures of Central Eurasia.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 20837/30837 Early Turkish Republic I

This course will examine the development of the Turkish state following WWI including questions of economy, institutions, and identity formation. The first quarter make be taken as a free-standing colloquium, or students may take both quarters and produce a research paper.

Prerequisites

open to graduate students and to upper division Undergraduates

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 20840/30840 Radical Islamic Pieties, 1200–1600

This course examines responses to the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258 and the background to formation of regional Muslim empires. Topics include the opening of confessional boundaries; Ibn Arabi, Ibn Taymiyya, and Ibn Khaldun; the development of alternative spiritualities, mysticism, and messianism in the fifteenth century; and transconfessionalism, antinomianism, and the articulation of sacral sovereignties in the sixteenth century. All work in English. This course is offered in alternate years.

Prerequisites

Some knowledge of primary languages (i.e., Arabic, French, German, Greek, Latin, Persian, Spanish, Turkish) helpful.

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 30847 History of the Early Turkish Republic II

This is the continuation of NEHC 20837/20837: History Early Turkish Republic I. Students will produce a seminar/research paper and meet to discuss selected readings on the transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic and the consolidation of the Republican regime.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 30852 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent

This two-quarter seminar focuses on the transformation of the Muslim Ottoman principality into an imperial entity--after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453--that laid claim to inheritance of Alexandrine, Roman/Byzantine, Mongol/Chinggisid, and Islamic models of Old World Empire at the dawn of the early modern era. Special attention is paid to the transformation of Ottoman imperialism in the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver (1520-1566), who appeared to give the Empire its “classical” form. Topics include: the Mongol legacy; the reformulation of the relationship between political and religious institutions; mysticism and the creation of divine kingship; Muslim-Christian competition (with special reference to Spain and Italy) and the formation of early modernity; the articulation of bureaucratized hierarchy; and comparison of Muslim Ottoman, Iranian Safavid, and Christian European imperialisms. The first quarter comprises a chronological overview of major themes in Ottoman history, 1300-1600; the second quarter is divided between the examination of particular themes in comparative perspective (for example, the dissolution and recreation of religious institutions in Islamdom and Christendom) and student presentations of research for the seminar paper. In addition to seminar papers, students will be required to give an oral presentation on a designated primary or secondary source in the course of the seminar.

Prerequisites

Upper level undergrads with consent only; reading knowledge of at least 1 European Language recommended

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 30853 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent

This two-quarter seminar focuses on the transformation of the Muslim Ottoman principality into an imperial entity--after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453--that laid claim to inheritance of Alexandrine, Roman/Byzantine, Mongol/Chinggisid, and Islamic models of Old World Empire at the dawn of the early modern era. Special attention is paid to the transformation of Ottoman imperialism in the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver (1520-1566), who appeared to give the Empire its “classical” form. Topics include: the Mongol legacy; the reformulation of the relationship between political and religious institutions; mysticism and the creation of divine kingship; Muslim-Christian competition (with special reference to Spain and Italy) and the formation of early modernity; the articulation of bureaucratized hierarchy; and comparison of Muslim Ottoman, Iranian Safavid, and Christian European imperialisms. The first quarter comprises a chronological overview of major themes in Ottoman history, 1300-1600; the second quarter is divided between the examination of particular themes in comparative perspective (for example, the dissolution and recreation of religious institutions in Islamdom and Christendom) and student presentations of research for the seminar paper. In addition to seminar papers, students will be required to give an oral presentation on a designated primary or secondary source in the course of the seminar.

Prerequisites

Upper level undergrads with consent only; reading knowledge of at least 1 European Language recommended

2019-2020 Winter

NEHC 30937 Nationalism, colonialism and post colonialism in the Middle East

This graduate seminar offers a historiographical overview of the approaches to sect, religion, minority and gender in colonial and postcolonial contexts in the Middle East. We will discuss the conceptualizations of nationalism by different social scientists; explore the characteristics of Iranian, Turkish and Arab nationalism[s] in the years 1860-1979; examine the history of science and technology in the region and its influence on perceptions of Islamic modernity,; and ask whether sectarianism an old phenomenon or a new one, paying heed to the relationship between minorities and religions in the region.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 30943 Colloquium: Iran and Central Asia I-Safvid Iran

The first quarter will take the form of a colloquium on the sources for and the literature on the political, social, economic, technological, and cultural history of Western and Central Asia from approximately 1500 to 1750. Classroom presentations and a short paper are required.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 25020/35020 Culture and Zionism

This seminar will examine the intersection of culture and Zionism. We will begin by considering the historical formation referred to as "cultural Zionism" and examining its ideological underpinnings. Other topics include: Hebrew revival, the role of culture in the Zionist revolution, Israeli culture as Zionist culture. Readings include: Ahad Haam, Haim Nahman Bialik, S.Y. Agnon, Orly Kastel-Blum, Edward Said, Benjamin Harshav.

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 25222/35222 Readings in Syriac Literature

This course provides the student with an introduction to the major authors and various genres of
Syriac literature, including chronicles and historical texts, hagiography, biblical
commentary, and letters/responsa. Following this introduction, selected portions of several
Syriac texts will be read in English translation and discussed in class. A brief (6-10 pages)
paper and class presentation will be required (topic subject to the approval of the
instructor). There will also be a final exam.

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 40122 Nations in Crisis, Nations in Diaspora - a Comparative study of the histories of modern Iraq and Palestine in the 20th century

The class compares the histories of both Iraq and Palestine to explore questions relating to colonialism, nationalism and resistance in the modern Middle East. Each class will take up a theme, ranging from arm resistance to gender roles in post colonialist contextS, and will compare the Iraqi to the Palestinian case. GRADUATE Seminar, three hours,

2019-2020 Spring

NEHC 10666/40666 Hell! Discussion about Hell in Middle Eastern Cultures

The class looks at images of, and narratives about, hell, from depictions of hell in the Quran to depictions of contemporary refugee camps as modern infernos. We will also study the construction of the image of Satan (Iblis) and of demons (jins) in various Islamic texts. The class will focus on reading of primary sources in translation (The Quran, Ibn 'Arabi, Abu al-'Ala al-Ma'ari, Nagib Mahfouz, Ghassan Kanfani) and the text book "Locating Hell in Islamic Traditions" , edited by Christian Lange (Brill, 2015, open online access)

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 40925 Readings in Islamic Law

This course provides a survey of the primary literatures of Islamic law and their treatment in modern scholarship. Primary texts read and discussed in class cover the following genres: compendium (mukhtasar), commentary (sharh), legal disputation (jadal), legal theory (usul al-fiqh), legal maxims (qawa’id fiqhiyya), handbooks for judges (adab al-qadi), handbooks for muftis (adab al-mufti), and legal responsa (fatawa). We will read closely selected excerpts from each of these genres and discuss relevant secondary literature in order to contextualize the primary texts thematically and historically and to examine critically the research questions that have thus far animated the modern study of Islamic law. Undergraduate students by instructor permission only.

Prerequisites

3 years of Arabic or the equivalent

2019-2020 Autumn

NEHC 20011 Ancient Empires-1: The Hittite Empire

(CLCV 25700, HIST 15602)

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This sequence introduces three great empires of the ancient world. Each course in the sequence focuses on one empire, with attention to the similarities and differences among the empires being considered. By exploring the rich legacy of documents and monuments that these empires produced, students are introduced to ways of understanding imperialism and its cultural and societal effects—both on the imperial elites and on those they conquered.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 10101 Intro To The Middle East

(HIST 15801)

Designed for those with no previous knowledge of the Middle East, this course aims to facilitate a general understanding of some key factors that have shaped life in this region, with primary emphasis on modern conditions and their background, and to provide exposure to some of the region's rich cultural diversity. The course can serve as a basis for the further study of the history, politics, and civilizations of the Middle East.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20013 Ancient Empires-3: The Egyptian Empire of the New Kingdom

(CLCV 25900, HIST 15604)

This sequence introduces three great empires of the ancient world. Each course in the sequence focuses on one empire, with attention to the similarities and differences among the empires being considered. By exploring the rich legacy of documents and monuments that these empires produced, students are introduced to ways of understanding imperialism and its cultural and societal effects—both on the imperial elites and on those they conquered.

For most of the duration of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC), the ancient Egyptians were able to establish a vast empire and becoming one of the key powers within the Near East. This course will investigate in detail the development of Egyptian foreign policies and military expansion which affected parts of the Near East and Nubia. We will examine and discuss topics such as ideology, imperial identity, political struggle and motivation for conquest and control of wider regions surrounding the Egyptian state as well as the relationship with other powers and their perspective on Egyptian rulers as for example described in the Amarna letters.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20464 Climate, Culture and Society in the Ancient Near East

(HIST 20310)

This course is part of the new curricular initiative Course Cluster on Climate Change, Culture and Society. Using primarily case studies from the Ancient Near East (from prehistory to the first millennium BCE) as a basis for discussion, the course will investigate the nature of the relationship between human societies and their environment, with a specific focus on situations of climatic change. Students will be invited to reflect on discourses on human-environment interactions from Herodotus to the IPCC, on notions such as environmental or social determinism, possibilism and reductionism, societal collapse and resilience, and on recent academic trends at the crossroads of Humanities, Social Sciences and Environmental Studies. This will allow them to develop critical skills that nurture their reflexions on current debates on anthropogenic climate change and the Anthropocene.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 31000 Before the Zodiac: Astronomy and Mathematics as Ancient Culture

(SIGN 26045)

Taking as its central theme the cultural situatedness of the earliest systems of mathematics and astronomy—from their origins in ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq, c. 3400 BCE) until the Common Era (CE)—this course explores topics in mathematical language and script, metrology, geometry and topology, music theory, definitions of time, models of stars and planets, medical astrology, and pan-astronomical hermeneutics in literature and an ancient board game. Pushing against boundaries separating the humanities and social and physical sciences, students discover how histories of science and mathematics could be decisively shaped not merely by sensory experience or axiomatic definition, but also by ideas and imagery derived from the cultures, societies, and aesthetics of their day.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20012 Ancient Empires: The Ottoman Empire

(CLCV 25800, HIST 15603)

This sequence introduces three great empires of the ancient world. Each course in the sequence focuses on one empire, with attention to the similarities and differences among the empires being considered. By exploring the rich legacy of documents and monuments that these empires produced, students are introduced to ways of understanding imperialism and its cultural and societal effects—both on the imperial elites and on those they conquered.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 20735 Persia: The First World Empire

(CLCV 23518)

Stretching from Pakistan to Egypt and Greece, the Achaemenid Persian Empire dominated the Middle East for over 200 years (559-330 BCE) and was the first world empire in history. The Persian Empire brought diverse cultures, such as those of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, under a single rule, and witnessed transformations in the economies, religions, and political structures of the ancient world. In this course, we will trace the rise and fall of the Persian Empire and its afterlife, as the history of the Persian Empire continues to affect how we conceive of the Middle East today.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 20005 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-2: Anatolian Lit

(NEHC 30005)

This course will provide an overview of Anatolian/Hittite literature, as “defined” by the Hittites themselves, in the wider historical-cultural context of the Ancient Near East. In the course of discussions, we will try to answer some important questions about Hittite inscriptions, such as: why were they written down, why were they kept, for whom were they intended, and what do the answers to these questions (apart from the primary content of the texts themselves) tell us about Hittite society?

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20006 Ancient Near Eastern Thought and Literature 3 : Egyptian Lit

(EGPT 30006, NEHC 30006)

This course employs English translations of ancient Egyptian literary texts to explore the genres, conventions and techniques of ancient Egyptian literature. Discussions of texts examine how the ancient Egyptians conceptualized and constructed their equivalent of literature, as well as the fuzzy boundaries and subtle interplay between autobiography, history, myth and fiction.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 20091 Al-Ghazali

(ISLM 30091, NEHC 30091)

This course introduces students to the figure of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and his enormously influential contributions to philosophy, theology, Sufism, and law. In addition to reading his writings, we examine al-Ghazali's reception in secondary scholarship and the various roles attributed to him – extinguisher of reason, proponent of double truth, architect of a grand synthesis. Open to undergraduates with sufficient Arabic and instructor permission.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites: Two years of Arabic or the equivalent

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 20212 Introduction to Egyptian Religion and Magic

(NEHC 30122)

The course provides a general introduction to the theology and ritual practice of Ancient Egypt from the Predynastic Period to the late Roman Empire (ca. 3100 BC to AD 543).  Illustrated lectures will  survey primary mythology, the nature of Egyptian “magic,” the evolving role of the priesthood, the function of temple and tomb architecture, mummification and funerary rites, the Amarna revolution and the origins of monotheism, as well as the impact of Egyptian religion on neighboring belief systems.  Students will read a wide array of original texts in translation in addition to modern interpretive studies.  Course requirements include two (2) papers and a final exam.  In the first paper the student should discuss in 5-10 pages a specific deity or temple site.  The second paper should contain a concise analysis (5-10 pages) of a theological issue pertinent to class discussion and readings.  All topics must be cleared in advance with the instructor. Proper bibliographies and footnotes are expected, and any internet sources must be cleared with the instructor.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20501 Islamic History and Society-1:The Rise of Islam & the Caliphate

This course covers the period from ca. 600 to 1100, including the rise and spread of Islam, the Islamic empire under the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs, and the emergence of regional Islamic states from Afghanistan and eastern Iran to North Africa and Spain.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 20502 Islamic History and Society-2: The Middle Periods

(NEHC 30502, HIST 25804, HIST 35804)

This course covers the period from ca. 1100 to 1750, including the arrival of the Steppe Peoples (Turks and Mongols), the Mongol successor states, and the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria. We also study the foundation of the great Islamic regional empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Moghuls.

Prerequisites

Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 20503 Islamic History and Society -3: The Modern Middle East

This course covers the period from ca. 1750 to the present, focusing on Western military, economic, and ideological encroachment; the impact of such ideas as nationalism and liberalism; efforts at reform in the Islamic states; the emergence of the "modern" Middle East after World War I; the struggle for liberation from Western colonial and imperial control; the Middle Eastern states in the cold war era; and local and regional conflicts.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20601 Islamic Thought & Literature-1

(NEHC 30601-01, SOSC 22000-01, RLST 20401-01, ISLM 30601-01, CMES 30601-01)

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

Prerequisites

Students can meet the general education requirement in civilization studies by taking NEHC 20601 and either 20602 or 20603.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 20602 Islamic Thought & Literature-2

(SOSC, RLST, ISLM)

This course covers the period from ca. 950 to 1700. We survey works of literature, theology, philosophy, Sufism, politics, and history that were written in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. We also consider the art, architecture, and music of the Islamicate traditions. Through primary texts, secondary sources, and lectures, we trace the cultural, social, religious, political, and institutional evolution through the period of the Fatimids, the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, and the “gunpowder empires” (Ottomans, Safavids, Mughals).

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

Prerequisites

NEHC 20601 (Islamic Thought and Lit–1) or NEHC 20501 (Islamic Hist and Soc–1). Partially fulfills Civilizational Studies requirement of the College.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 20603 Islamic Thought and Literature-3

(SOSC, RLST, ISLM)

This course covers the period from ca. 1700 to the present. It explores Muslim intellectuals' engagement with tradition and modernity in the realms of religion, politics, literature, and law. We discuss debates concerning the role of religion in a modern society, perceptions of Europe and European influence, the challenges of maintain religious and cultural authenticity, and Muslim views of nation-states and nationalism in the Middle East. We also give consideration to the modern developments of transnational jihadism and the Arab Spring.

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

Prerequisites

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20615 Drawn Together: Comics Culture in the Middle East

(NEHC 30615)

This is a course about the rise of the graphic novel and comics culture in the Middle East. We will apply key theoretical materials from the field of comics studies to help us understand the influences, motivations and interventions of these graphic narratives in their cultural contexts. While we will primarily focus on the Arabic-speaking regions of the Middle East, the course will also include texts from Iran, Turkey, and the US and Europe.

Prerequisites

In English. No prerequisites.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20765 Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia

(ANTH ,NEHC 20765 ,EEUR ,EEUR 30766, EALC, MUSI)

An ethnomusicological survey of the traditional musical cultures associated with the indigenous inhabitants of Central Eurasia.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20840 Radical Islamic Pieties, 1200–1600

(NEHC 30840, HIST 25901, HIST 35901)

This course examines responses to the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258 and the background to formation of regional Muslim empires. Topics include the opening of confessional boundaries; Ibn Arabi, Ibn Taymiyya, and Ibn Khaldun; the development of alternative spiritualities, mysticism, and messianism in the fifteenth century; and transconfessionalism, antinomianism, and the articulation of sacral sovereignties in the sixteenth century. All work in English. This course is offered in alternate years.

Prerequisites

Some knowledge of primary languages (i.e., Arabic, French, German, Greek, Latin, Persian, Spanish, Turkish) helpful.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 20895 The Construction of Jewish History in Israel

The course concerns the ways Jewish history has been constructed and conceptualized in the State of Israel since 1948. It will examine academic and para academic research, popular history books, TV series, educational programs, national archives and public ceremonies.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 20896 The Mizrahi Discourse in Israel

(HIST 25905, NEHC 30896)

The course concerns the many ways Oriental Jews are represented in Israeli discourse: in academic writings, in history curricula, in Israeli novels and films, in ethnic museums and in political discourse. It will also discuss Mizrahi self-identities as manifested in protest movements, civil organizations, and political parties. The course will take a chronological path and will follow the changes that occurred in the discourse about ethnicity from the state`s early years until recent days.

Miriam Frenkel, Miriam Frenkel
2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 20937 Nationalism, colonialism and post-colonialism in the Middle East

(NEHC 30937)

The seminar covers the history of the region during the 19th and 20th centuries. It looks at how the modern historiography of modern Middle Eastern studies shaped, and was shaped by, post-colonial studies, subaltern studies, and historical perceptions of urbanity, modernity, Orientlaism, and class. The class will pay heed to the fluid and constructed nature of Arab national culture, and the terminology used by Arab nationalists concerning ""nahda," “revival,” and “rebirth.” We will explore various "golden ages" Arab nationalists envisioned, like pre-Islamic Semitic empires, the first Islamic state under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad, the Ummayds, the Abbasids and Muslim Spain, as a way of analyzing the the constructed and temporal nature of national discourses. We will finally examine the distinction between Pan-Arab nationalism (qawmiyya), which considered Arab culture, history, and language as markers of one's national identity, and often strove for political unity with other Arab states; and territorial-patriotic nationalism (wataniyya), which hailed the national cultures of particular Arab states (Egyptian, Iraqi, Lebanese), focusing on their geography, archaeology, and history the key features of national identity.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 21010 The Age of Innovation – Famous Firsts 5000 years ago

(SIGN 26016)

“The first man on moon”, “the first Thanksgiving” or “the first kiss” – our society is still fascinated and remembers the exact moment something happened for the first time. The history of the Ancient Near East, especially the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), is quite rich of such “firsts in history”.
From the moment, writing is discovered there is an abundance of textual record, covering the first documents about politics, law, and economics. The first private documents allow us a glimpse into what living and dying were life like more 5000 years ago.

This class will explore what the cultural conditions of those innovations are and how innovations transform societies and why it matters to study ancient civilizations.

By discovering primary sources (in English translation), the fascination of reading those texts for the “first” time will be experienced. Visits at the Oriental Institute Museum will link textual record and object-based inquiry.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20004/30004 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-1: Mesopotamia

This course gives an overview over the richness of Mesopotamian Literature (modern Iraq) written in the 3rd-1st millennium BC. We will read myths and epics written on clay tablets in Sumerian and Akkadian language in English translation and discuss content and style, but also the religious, cultural and historic implications. Special focus will be on the development of stories over time, historical context of the literature and mythological figures. The texts treated cover not only the famous Epic of Gilgamesh, but also various legends of Sumerian and Akkadian kings, stories about Creation and World Order, and destruction. The topics covered range from the quest for immortality, epic heros and monsters, sexuality and love.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 30019 Mesopotamian Law

(SIGN 26022, law and letters (Ask dennis hutchinson))

NEHC 30019. Mesopotamian Law, LLSO 20019 SIGN 26002. Ancient Mesopotamia -- the home of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians who wrote in cuneiform script on durable clay tablets -- was the locus of many of history's firsts. No development, however, may be as important as the formations of legal systems and legal principles revealed in contracts, trial records, and law collections (codes), among which The Laws of Hammurabi (r. 1792-1750 BC) stands as most important for understanding subsequent legal practice and thought of Mesopotamia's cultural heirs in the Middle East and Europe until today. This course will explore the rich source materials of the Laws and relevant judicial and administration documents (all in English translations) to investigate topics of legal, social, and economic practice including family formation and dissolution, crime and punishment (sympathetic or talionic eye for an eye, pecuniary, corporal), and procedure (contracts, trials, ordeals).

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 20025/30025 Introduction to Islamic Law

Is Islam a religion or a political ideology? What is sharīʿa and what is sharīʿa law? What do Muslims mean when they use terms like sharīʿa, fiqh and Islamic law? Does Islamic law represent a challenge to the authority of the nation-state? In this course, we will examine all of these issues and more.In this course, we will approach Islamic law from three main angles, jurisprudence, substantive law, and the judiciary. The substantive areas of Islamic law to be covered include the following: ritual worship, family and personal status law, criminal law, contract law, constitutional & international law. We will also be dealing with the challenges posed by the advent of modernity and colonialism to Muslims' understanding and practice of Islamic law. The course will combine readings in primary and secondary literature with case studies to illustrate the workings of Islamic law. The main textbooks will be Wael Hallaq's Introduction to Islamic Law and Knut Vikor's Between God and the Sultan: A History of Islamic Law. Supplemental readings will be provided from other works. Students will be required to write three 3-4 page response papers, take a midterm and a final exam. The final exam will comprise take home essay questions.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 30032 Imagining the Text: Books and Manuscripts in the Ancient ME

(NEHC 20032)

Imagining the Text: Books and Manuscripts in the Ancient Middle East offers a unique perspective within the larger paradigm of approaches to the written word known as the “History of the Book.” While many such courses look only briefly at pre-printed textual material, this course will provide an overview on the use of texts from antiquity (from the earliest writing to the Middle Ages) in the Middle East. Site visits to local repositories will provide hands-on experience with papyri, clay tablets, parchment, vellum, and rare books. Readings and discussions will explore what is meant by the term “text” in order to deeply investigate the methodologies of book history and textual criticism.The course will be organized around two primary themes: methodology and pre-print manuscript culture. During the first five weeks, we will look at how texts are studied, thereby setting a foundation for looking at actual examples in the second part of the course. The central component of the course will be spent deeply studying the pre-print manuscript culture from across the ancient Middle East in a roughly chronological order. We will devote significant time to the transmission of texts in the ancient Mediterranean world, an area of particular interest to me that is rarely covered with such depth in a "book history" class. During this time, we will have several site visits to area institutions to see firsthand treasures from their collections, including cuneiform tablets preserving the epic of Gilgamesh, papyrus copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Coptic prayer books, Syriac hagiographies, ancient Greek biblical manuscripts, medieval monastic literature, and much more. In the final weeks of the course, we will turn to the early revolution of paper and print technology.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 30466 Coping with Changing Climates in Early Antiquity I

This two-quarter seminar is offered as part of an ongoing collaborative research project called “Coping with Changing Climates in Early Antiquity: Comparative Approaches Between Empiricism and Theory,” developped jointly at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and Purdue University. Using a shared syllabus at the three institutions, and some joint sessions in the form of webinars, the seminar will cover the theoretical framework that allows for an in-depth understanding of the relations between human societies and their environments, and on social response to change in their social, political and environmental climates (Winter quarter); it will present a series of case studies in three key geographic areas: Egypt and Nubia; the Eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia; and Mesopotamia (Spring quarter). Students will be exposed to cross-cultural approaches and will be able to interact with partners at other institutions through an online discussion group. Students will have the opportunity to work collaboratively (2-3 students) within their institution and across institutions on a research project of their choice, whose results will be presented at a poster session during the project's final conference in 2020, and will then be exhibited at the three partner institutions in the course of Academic Year 2020-2021.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 30467 Coping with Changing Climates in Early Antiquity II

This two-quarter seminar is offered as part of an ongoing collaborative research project called “Coping with Changing Climates in Early Antiquity: Comparative Approaches Between Empiricism and Theory,” developped jointly at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and Purdue University. Using a shared syllabus at the three institutions, and some joint sessions in the form of webinars, the seminar will cover the theoretical framework that allows for an in-depth understanding of the relations between human societies and their environments, and on social response to change in their social, political and environmental climates (Winter quarter); it will present a series of case studies in three key geographic areas: Egypt and Nubia; the Eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia; and Mesopotamia (Spring quarter). Students will be exposed to cross-cultural approaches and will be able to interact with partners at other institutions through an online discussion group. Students will have the opportunity to work collaboratively (2-3 students) within their institution and across institutions on a research project of their choice, whose results will be presented at a poster session during the project's final conference in 2020, and will then be exhibited at the three partner institutions in the course of Academic Year 2020-2021.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20470/30470 Fashioning Identities in Ancient Egypt

The rich material and visual culture of Ancient Egypt provide an opportunity to study costume from various perspectives and through a variety of sources. Contact with different groups of foreigners was always omnipresent in Egypt, and when they ruled the country (e.g. Hyksos, Libyan, Kushites, Assyrians, Persian, Greeks, Roman), they exposed Egypt to outward culture and fashion. This presents an opportunity to inquire if and how the political situation affected the way Egyptian dressed, as costume is a powerful means to assimilate and acculturate a wearer in society.
This course will give a quick overview of the Egyptian costume through the lens of art historical sources as well as of the organic remains of textiles. It will demonstrate how to use clothing as a tool to investigate a distant civilization. By analyzing the clothing of Egyptians and foreigners, it will familiarize students with ancient wardrobe, as well as provide an overview of Egyptian art and material culture. It will investigate the importance of clothing as a marker of the self and its role as an expression and negotiation of identity. The attire will be set in a broad socio-cultural perspective where the meaning of dress in terms of various identities, whether social (including gender and ethnicity), political, and/or religious, will be questioned. 
Aleksandra Hallman
2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 30605 Coll: Sources for the Study of Islamic History

(NEHC 20605, HIST 26005, HIST 36005)

This course is designed to acquaint the student with the basic problems and concepts as well as the sources and methodology for the study of premodern Islamic history. Sources will be read in English translation and the tools acquired will be applied to specific research projects to be submitted as term papers. Offered in alternate years.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 30645 History of the Fatimid Caliphate

(NEHC 20645, HIST 34401, 24401.)

This course will cover the history of the Fatimid (Shiite) caliphate, from its foundation in the North Africa about 909 until its end in Egypt 1171. Most of the material will be presented in classroom lectures. Sections of the course deal with Fatimid history treated chronologically and others with separate institutions and problems as they changed and developed throughout the whole time period. Readings heavily favored or highly recommended are all in English.

2018-2019 Spring

NEHC 20677/30677 Beyond Genocide & Diaspora: Armenians in the Middle East

Despite the genocide, Armenians have known thriving political, sociocultural, ideological, and ecclesiastical centers in the twentieth century. The seminar Beyond Genocide & Diaspora: Armenians in the Middle East focuses on such centers: in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey, amongst others. This will not be a journey of loss or simple rebirth, perspectives omnipresent in writings on modern Armenian history. Rather, we will be analyzing the history of power: on how Armenians experienced the everyday and the ordinary in the Middle East,  making these places their own, and how they manipulated and managed loss and renewal. At the same time, this seminar asks: what can we learn about these spaces, and the region more broadly, by looking at it through the lens of everyday Armenian sociopolitics? This analysis of Armenians does not only contribute to the study of Armenians, then. Rather, it shows how Armenians in the Middle East experienced politics everyday, and what those experiences can teach us about interlinked national and global events. This course also examines changing aspects of belonging, and explores how these concepts travel over time and space.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 30832 Topics in Late Ottoman History

This course will examine important themes in late Ottoman history such as institutional reform, the development of consultative structures, taxation, capitulations, and nationalism.

Prerequisites

Qualified undergrads may register with instructor consent

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 30852 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent

(HIST 58302)

This two-quarter seminar focuses on the transformation of the Muslim Ottoman principality into an imperial entity--after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453--that laid claim to inheritance of Alexandrine, Roman/Byzantine, Mongol/Chinggisid, and Islamic models of Old World Empire at the dawn of the early modern era. Special attention is paid to the transformation of Ottoman imperialism in the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver (1520-1566), who appeared to give the Empire its “classical” form. Topics include: the Mongol legacy; the reformulation of the relationship between political and religious institutions; mysticism and the creation of divine kingship; Muslim-Christian competition (with special reference to Spain and Italy) and the formation of early modernity; the articulation of bureaucratized hierarchy; and comparison of Muslim Ottoman, Iranian Safavid, and Christian European imperialisms. The first quarter comprises a chronological overview of major themes in Ottoman history, 1300-1600; the second quarter is divided between the examination of particular themes in comparative perspective (for example, the dissolution and recreation of religious institutions in Islamdom and Christendom) and student presentations of research for the seminar paper. In addition to seminar papers, students will be required to give an oral presentation on a designated primary or secondary source in the course of the seminar.

Prerequisites

Upper level undergrads with consent only; reading knowledge of at least 1 European Language recommended

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 30853 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent

(HIST 58303)

This two-quarter seminar focuses on the transformation of the Muslim Ottoman principality into an imperial entity--after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453--that laid claim to inheritance of Alexandrine, Roman/Byzantine, Mongol/Chinggisid, and Islamic models of Old World Empire at the dawn of the early modern era. Special attention is paid to the transformation of Ottoman imperialism in the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver (1520-1566), who appeared to give the Empire its “classical” form. Topics include: the Mongol legacy; the reformulation of the relationship between political and religious institutions; mysticism and the creation of divine kingship; Muslim-Christian competition (with special reference to Spain and Italy) and the formation of early modernity; the articulation of bureaucratized hierarchy; and comparison of Muslim Ottoman, Iranian Safavid, and Christian European imperialisms. The first quarter comprises a chronological overview of major themes in Ottoman history, 1300-1600; the second quarter is divided between the examination of particular themes in comparative perspective (for example, the dissolution and recreation of religious institutions in Islamdom and Christendom) and student presentations of research for the seminar paper. In addition to seminar papers, students will be required to give an oral presentation on a designated primary or secondary source in the course of the seminar.

Prerequisites

Upper level undergrads with consent only; reading knowledge of at least 1 European Language recommended

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 30943 Sem: Iran and Central Asia-1

(HIST 58601)

The first quarter will take the form of a colloquium on the sources for and the literature on the political, social, economic, technological, and cultural history of Western and Central Asia from 900 to 1750. Specific topics will vary and focus on the Turks and the Islamic world, the Mongol universal empire, the age of Timur and the Turkmens, and the development of the "Gunpowder Empires." The second quarter will be devoted to the preparation of a major research paper.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 30944 Sem: Iran and Central Asia-2

(HIST 58602)

The second quarter will be devoted to the preparation of a major research paper.

2018-2019 Winter

NEHC 40630 Early Islamic Texts

(ISLM 49630)

The course introduces students to Islamic texts of the first two centuries, covering early Islamic poetry, history, sira, hadith collections, law, theology, and political polemics. In the process, we address the overall questions of how and to what extent historical events and ideas of the early period can be reconstructed, what hitherto un- or underused sources might be at our disposal, and what approaches and methods could be appropriate for examining these sources.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites: Two years of Arabic or the equivalent.

2018-2019 Autumn

NEHC 20001 Ancient Near Eastern History 1 : Egypt

(NEHC 30001)

This course surveys the political, social, and economic history of ancient Egypt from pre-dynastic times (ca. 3400 B.C.) until the advent of Islam in the seventh century of our era.

NEHC 20011 Ancient Empires-1.

(HIST 15602,CLCV 25700)

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This sequence introduces three great empires of the ancient world. Each course in the sequence focuses on one empire, with attention to the similarities and differences among the empires being considered. By exploring the rich legacy of documents and monuments that these empires produced, students are introduced to ways of understanding imperialism and its cultural and societal effects—both on the imperial elites and on those they conquered.

Prerequisites

Topic: Hittite Empire. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies

2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 20944 Who owns the past?

Humans across cultures have historically attached great religious, cultural, political, and social value to a variety of cultural artifacts and sites, usually with significant immediate and historical consequences. Political ideologies, such as colonialism and nationalism, wars, poverty, a thriving illicit antiquities market: all of these are entwined with the ways in which the knowledge about the past is manipulated, collected, interpreted, presented, preserved, and destroyed to create meaning in the present. This course explores this relationship between past cultural heritage and the present through a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary survey of the human obsession with the past. We will consider a variety of topics such as the history of archaeology, the antiquities trade, and disputes over cultural ownership, along with a discussion of the repatriation of artifacts and current controversies surrounding antiquities around the globe.

Monica Phillips
2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 27001 Introduction to the History of Central Asia

(HIST 25803,NEHC 37001)

This course will explore the narrative history of Central Asia from rise of the nomadism up to the end of the Central Asian Timurids in the fifteenth century. We will discuss the people who lived there, the political entities that ruled, and the region's role in the pre-modern world. This course assumes that Central Asia can be studied as a cohesive unit of historical inquiry and that its peoples, civilizations, and cultures share common elements that make this approach possible. We will devote considerable effort to problems of historiography and methodology and will explore possible solutions to these problems.

Rong Fan
2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 29800 BA Thesis

Required of fourth-year students who are majoring in NELC. This is a workshop course designed to survey the fields represented by NELC and to assist students in researching and writing the BA paper. Students must get a Reading and Research form from their College Adviser and complete the form in order to be registered. Signatures are needed from the adviser and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Please indicate on the form that you wish to register for NEHC 29800 Section 01.

2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 10101 Intro To The Middle East

(HIST 15801)

Designed for those with no previous knowledge of the Middle East, this course aims to facilitate a general understanding of some key factors that have shaped life in this region, with primary emphasis on modern conditions and their background, and to provide exposure to some of the region’s rich cultural diversity. The course can serve as a basis for the further study of the history, politics, and civilizations of the Middle East.

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 20013 Ancient Empires-3: The Egyptian Empire of the New Kingdom

(CLCV 25900, HIST 15604)

<p>This sequence introduces three great empires of the ancient world. Each course in the sequence focuses on one empire, with attention to the similarities and differences among the empires being considered. By exploring the rich legacy of documents and monuments that these empires produced, students are introduced to ways of understanding imperialism and its cultural and societal effects—both on the imperial elites and on those they conquered.</p><p>For most of the duration of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC), the ancient Egyptians were able to establish a vast empire and becoming one of the key powers within the Near East. This course will investigate in detail the development of Egyptian foreign policies and military expansion which affected parts of the Near East and Nubia. We will examine and discuss topics such as ideology, imperial identity, political struggle and motivation for conquest and control of wider regions surrounding the Egyptian state as well as the relationship with other powers and their perspective on Egyptian rulers as for example described in the Amarna letters.</p>

Prerequisites

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. ENROLLMENT LIMIT: 60

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 20033 Monsters and Magic in the Ancient Near East

Students in this course will explore and engage two categories frequently deployed in the study of ancient and modern societies—“magic” and “monsters”—through interaction with textual and iconographic material from the ancient 

Matthew Richey
2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 20006 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-3: Egypt

(EGPT 20006)

This course employs English translations of ancient Egyptian literary texts to explore the genres, conventions and techniques of ancient Egyptian literature. Discussions of texts examine how the ancient Egyptians conceptualized and constructed their equivalent of literature, as well as the fuzzy boundaries and subtle interplay between autobiography, history, myth and fiction. 

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 20012 Ancient Empires-1.

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This sequence introduces three great empires of the ancient world. Each course in the sequence focuses on one empire, with attention to the similarities and differences among the empires being considered. By exploring the rich legacy of documents and monuments that these empires produced, students are introduced to ways of understanding imperialism and its cultural and societal effects—both on the imperial elites and on those they conquered.

Prerequisites

Topic: Hittite Empire. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 20060 The discovery of Egypt in the age of European Enlightenment

(SIGN 26032)

The interests by Europeans in Egypt extends back to famous scholars such as Athanasius Kircher in the 17th century and was fueled by the mysteries of the Orient and seeking to understand the birth of civilization. While the beginnings of exploring the land of the Nile can be traced as least as far back as the Renaissance, it is within the context of the age of Enlightenment that Europeans sponsored research expeditions into this so far little known territory. By the late 18th century interests in Egypt, particularly by the French and British, had evolved considerably and were motivated by a diverse number of factors (political, colonial, economic, scientific). However, it was Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign to Egypt in 1798 that took the first initiative to explore this distant land from a scientific point of view through the involvement of a group of leading French scientists (savants) who were tasked to document and analyze all aspects of this fascinating country and its past. This went beyond the recording of ancient monuments but also included the natural environment, extensive cartography as well observations of modern life of Muslim society. The results of this albeit failed military expedition featured in the famous multi-volume work ‘La Déscription de l’Égypte’ which became incredibly popular among European scientists but also the general public. It awakened a never before seen fascination with Egypt, which had dire consequences for the removal and plundering of artifacts and monuments in the long run, but also saw the birth of a scientific Institute, l’Institut d’Égypte, in Cairo (recently severely damaged during the revolution).

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 20002 Ancient Near Eastern History: Anatolia

(NEHC 30002)

This course introduces students to the history of ancient Anatolia and its neighbors from the first historical texts around 2000 BCE to the arrival of Alexander the Great. Some of the famous ancient Near Eastern civilizations that we encounter include the Assyrians, Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, and Israelites. We will focus on the information provided by inscriptions - especially political and socioeconomic history - as well as the relevant archaeological and art historical records. No prior knowledge of Anatolian or Near Eastern history is required.

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 20003 Ancient Near Eastern History and Society-3

(NEHC 30001)

This course provides an introduction to the social, political, and cultural history of Mesopotamia, from the origins of writing and cities in Sumer (ca. 3200 B.C.), through the great empires of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia.

Prerequisites

Taking these courses in sequence is not required. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 20004 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-1: Gilgamesh

(NEHC 30004)

This course takes as its topic the literary tradition surrounding Gilgamesh, the legendary king of the Mesopotamian city-state of Uruk. The course will focus on the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh and its Sumerian forerunners, and their cultural and historical contexts. We will also read a number of Sumerian and Akkadian compositions that are thematically related to the Gilgamesh tradition, including Atrahasis, the Sumerian Flood story, and the Epics of Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, also of first dynasty of Uruk.

Prerequisites

(Enrollment 25)

2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 20005 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-2: Anatolian Lit

(NEHC 3005)

This course will provide an overview of Anatolian/Hittite literature, as “defined” by the Hittites themselves, in the wider historical-cultural context of the Ancient Near East. In the course of discussions, we will try to answer some important questions about Hittite inscriptions, such as: why were they written down, why were they kept, for whom were they intended, and what do the answers to these questions (apart from the primary content of the texts themselves) tell us about Hittite society?

Prerequisites

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 20160 Central Asia Past and Present

(NEHC 30160)

Central Asia Past and Present serves as a multi-disciplinary course, spanning anthropology, history and political science. This course introduces students to the fluid, political-geographic concept of Central Asia as well as to the historical and cultural dimensions of this particular and oft-redefined world.  My understanding of Central Asia comes from studies of ex-Soviet Central Asia, which includes five independent countries (since 1991) within central Eurasia--the former U.S.S.R. Thus the course encompasses Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in addition to parts of northern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and western China (Xinjiang/Sinkiang).  Students will familiarize themselves with universal and divergent factors among the Central Asian peoples based on phenomena such as human migrations, cross-cultural influences, historical events, and the economic organization of peoples based on local ecology and natural boundaries. Working together and as individuals, we will study maps and atlases to gain a fuller understanding of historical movements and settlements of the Central Asian peoples.  In addition to lectures and book discussions, I will present photographs, slides, and video from fieldwork in Central Asia as well as professional documentary and art films about the societies of this area. 

Russell Zanca
2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 20501 Islamic History & Society-1: The Rise of Islam & the Caliphate

(NEHC 30501-01, HIST 25704-01, HIST 35704-01, ISLM 30500-01, RLST 20501-01, CMES 30501-01)

This course will investigate the intellectual, political and socio-economic background of Europe’s discovery of Egypt within the framework of the Age of Enlightenment and the following transformative years of the birth of a new scientific discipline called Egyptology but also greatly influencing European archaeology. The aim for the students is to explore the reasoning, pre-conceptions and attitudes of the first explorers and scientists travelling to Egypt and the ensuing aftermath of ‘Egyptomania’ in Europe. The students will be introduced to the consequences of Napoleon’s campaign on European fashion, art and architecture and what inspired the ensuing cultural plunder to satisfy the growing European demand for things Egyptian. The course is structured around primary sources (in translation) but also secondary literature including theoretical works such as the influential monograph by Edward Said on Orientalism and its criticism.

Prerequisites

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 20502 Islamic History and Society 2

This sequence surveys the main trends in the political history of the Islamic world, with some attention to economic, social, and intellectual history. This course covers the period from ca. 1100 to 1750, including the arrival of the steppe peoples (Turks and Mongols), the Mongol successor states, and the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria. We also study the foundation of the great Islamic regional empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Moghuls.

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 20503 Islamic History and Society 3

This sequence surveys the main trends in the political history of the Islamic world, with some attention to economic, social, and intellectual history. This course covers the period from ca. 1100 to 1750, including the arrival of the steppe peoples (Turks and Mongols), the Mongol successor states, and the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria. We also study the foundation of the great Islamic regional empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Moghuls.

Ekin Enacar
2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 20601 Islamic Thought & Literature-1

(NEHC 30601-01, SOSC 22000-01, RLST 20401-01, ISLM 30601-01, CMES 30601-01, HIST 25610, and HIST 35610)

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

Prerequisites

Students can meet the general education requirement in civilization studies by taking NEHC 20601 and either 20602 or 20603.

Rachel Schine
2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 20602 Islamic Thought & Literature-2

(NEHC 30602,SOSC 22100, RLST 20402, ISLM 30602, HIST 25615, HIST 35615)

<p>Survey of Islamic thought and literature during the “middle periods,” from 950 to 1750 C.E., stretching across a broad geographic area, from Morocco and Iberia to the Maldives and India, and even into the New World. The course engages with a broad selection of primary texts in English translation, and various visual, aural and material artifacts, contextualizing them through lectures, secondary readings and discussion. We explore the notion of Islamicate culture(s) and civilization in its many facets – the intellectual milieu; literary, artistic and musical production; political, social, scientific, philosophical and theological thought; concepts of the heroic, the beautiful, the good, the poetic; piety, devotion and spirituality; religious, educational, governmental, commercial and social institutions; geographic, ethnic, confessional, gender, social and spatial constructs. In brief, how did noteworthy Muslims at various points and places think through questions of life & death, man & God, faith & belief, the sacred & the profane, law & ethics, tradition vs. innovation, power & politics, class & gender, self & other? How did they think about and wage war, make love, eat & drink, tell stories, educate their youth, preserve the past, imagine the future, etc.?</p><p>This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.</p>

Prerequisites

Prerequisites: NEHC 20601 (Islamic Thought and Lit–I) or NEHC 20501 (Islamic Hist and Soc–I). Partially fulfills Civilizational Studies requirement of the College.

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 20603 Islamic Thought & Literature-3

(NEHC 30603,SOSC 22200, RLST 20403, ISLM 30603, HIST 25616, HIST 35616)

This course covers the period from ca. 1800 to the present, exploring the works of authors, film-makers, poets, intellectuals, political theorists, religious reformists and scholars of Islam who interpreted various aspects of Islam or Islamicate civilizations: the history of the former Dar al-Islam and the histories of modern Muslim-majority nation states; the encounter with colonialism and the West; attitudes toward "modernity"; calls for religious and social reform; ideas of political legitimacy; modern forms of spirituality; issues of gender, class, race, multiculturalism; the development of new genres of literature and art; etc. We focus primarily on Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.  The course focuses on encountering primary works (non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, films, music, etc.), contextualized through lectures, discussion and secondary readings.

Prerequisites

NEHC 20601 or 20602 (Islamic Thought and Lit-1 or -2), or NEHC 20501 or 20502 (Islamic History and Society-1 or -2) recommended. Partially fulfills Civilizational Studies requirement of the College, OR the requirements of the NELC Major/Minor." 

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 20605 Coll: Sources for the Study of Islamic History

(NEHC 30605, HIST 26005, and HIST 36005)

This course is designed to acquaint the student with the basic problems and concepts as well as the sources and methodology for the study of premodern Islamic history. Sources will be read in English translation and the tools acquired will be applied to specific research projects to be submitted as term papers.

2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 20630 Introduction to Islamic Philosophy

(NEHC 30630,ISLM 30630)

This course offers an introduction to the terms and concepts current in Arabic philosophical writings in the classical period of Islamic thought (roughly 9th to 17th century). It begins with the movement to translate Greek texts into Arabic and the debate among Muslims about the validity of philosophy versus revelation. From a close reading of key works (in English) by important philosophers such as al-Kindī, al-Rāzī, al-Sijistānī, al-Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), al-Ghazzālī, Ibn Bājja, Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Suhrawardī, and Mullā Ṣadrā, a series of lectures will follow the career of philosophy in the Islamic world, first as a ‘foreign’ science and then, later, as selectively rejected but also substantially accepted as a natural component of sophisticated discourse.

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 20840 Radical Islamic Pieties, 1200-1600

(NEHC 30840, HIST 25901, HIST 35901)

Course examines responses to the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258 and the background to formation of regional Muslim empires. Topics include the opening of confessional boundaries; Ibn Arabi, Ibn Taymiyya, and Ibn Khaldun; the development of alternative spiritualities, mysticism, and messianism in the fifteenth century; transconfessionalism, antinomianism, and the articulation of sacral sovereignties in the sixteenth century. Readings will be in English, though some acquaintance with primary languages (Arabic, French, German, Greek, Latin, Spanish, or Turkish) is desirable.

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 26150 The Modern Discovery of the Ancient Middle East: Archaeology

(NEHC 36150)

The class studies the ways in which modern archaeology shaped discourses in the Middle East regarding nationalism, colonialism, culture, and modernity; we will likewise explore the rise of the discipline in Europe and the United States. We will begin our class studying Napoleon's occupation of Egypt (1798), and the archaeological activities it inspired and end our discussions with very recent debates about cultural heritage, pertinent to the Iraq War and the battle against the Islamic State. Great emphasis in the class will be placed on how Arab, Turkish, Iranian and Zionist national movements appropriated the ancient past in order to make modern claims about territoriality and ethnicity.

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 26151 The history of Iraq in the 20th century

(NEHC 36151, SIGN 26028, HIST 26008)

The class explores the history of Iraq during the years 1917-2015. We will discuss the rise of the Iraqi nation state, Iraqi and Pan-Arab nationalism, and Iraqi authoritarianism. The class will focus on the unique histories of particular group in Iraqi society; religious groups (Shiis, Sunnis, Jews), ethnic groups (especially Kurds), classes (the urban poor, the educated middle classes, the landed and tribal elites), Iraqi women, and Iraqi tribesmen. Other classes will explore the ideologies that became prominent in the Iraqi public sphere, from communism to Islamic radicalism. We will likewise discuss how colonialism and imperialism shaped major trends in Iraqi history. The reading materials for the class are based on a combination of primary and secondary sources: we will read together Iraqi novels, memoirs and poems (in translation), as well as British and American diplomatic documents about to Iraq.

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 30001 Ancient Near Eastern History 1 : Egypt

(NEHC 20001)

This course surveys the political, social, and economic history of ancient Egypt from pre-dynastic times (ca. 3400 B.C.) until the advent of Islam in the seventh century of our era.

NEHC 30006 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-3: Egypt

(EGPT 30006)
2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 30019 Mesopotamian Law

(LLSO 20019, SIGN 26022)

NEHC 30019. Mesopotamian Law (= LLSO 20019; SIGN 26002). Ancient Mesopotamia -- the home of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians who wrote in cuneiform script on durable clay tablets -- was the locus of many of history’s “firsts.” No development, however, may be as important as the formations of legal systems and legal principles revealed in contracts, trial records, and law collections (“codes”), among which “The Laws of Hammurabi” (r. 1792-1750 BC) stands as most important for understanding subsequent legal practice and thought of Mesopotamia’s cultural heirs in the Middle East and Europe until today. This course will explore the rich source materials of the Laws and relevant judicial and administration documents (all in English translations) to investigate topics of legal, social, and economic practice including family formation and dissolution, crime and punishment (sympathetic or talionic “eye for an eye,” pecuniary, corporal), and procedure (contracts, trials, ordeals). M. Roth. Winter 2018.

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 30641 Islamic Origins

(ISLM 30641)

The course examines a wide array of scholarship surveying the problems posed by the rise of Islam from the historical and historiographical points of view.

Prerequisites

NEHC 20501 or equivalent

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 30766 Shamans and Oral Poets of Central Asia

(NEHC 20766, ANTH 25906, EEUR 20766, EEUR 30766)

This course explores the rituals, oral literature, and music associated with the nomadic cultures of Central Eurasia. It is a continuation of the course titled "Intriduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia", offered on odd-numbered years in the Spring Quarter. The course covers the traditional musical performances, oral literature, and other oral performance genres of the Kazakhs, Kirghiz, Turkmens, Siberian peoples, and Mongols, and examines topics in Central Eurasian animist/shamanist/Tengriist cultural practices.

Prerequisites

No prerequisites. Interest in a Central Asian language, Turkic language, or a general interest in Central Asia may be helpful but not required.

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 30852 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent

(HIST 58302, CMES 30852)

The course focuses on the formation of the Ottoman polity as an imperial entity following the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and up to the end of the sixteenth century. Taking as its thematic center point the ideological, social, cultural, and administrative changes introduced by Sultan Suleyman (1520–1566), the seminar also provides a survey of the institutions of his most extensive of early modern Muslim empires. Themes of particular significance are the changing relationship of religion and state, the development of imperial culture, the rule of law, rivalry with contemporary Christian and Muslim powers, and the transition from universal to regional empire. Reading knowledge of at least one European language recommended.

Prerequisites

Consent of instructor; reading knowledge of Turkish, Arabic, Persian, French, Italian, German, Latin, or Greek desirable but not required.

2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 30853 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent

(HIST 58303, CMES 30852)

In the second quarter we focus on research topics for students writing the seminar paper.

Prerequisites

Hist 78201; Consent of instructor; reading knowledge of Turkish, Arabic, Persian, French, Italian, German, Latin, or Greek desirable but not required.

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 30891 Sem: Intro to the Ottoman Press-1

(HIST 35707)

Course introduces students to the historical context and specific characteristics of the mass printed press (newspapers, cultural and political journals, etc.) in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th C. We will investigate issues such as content, censorship, production, readership and distribution through secondary reading and the examination of period publications.

Prerequisites

This will be offered as a single term seminar. Knowledge of a relevant research language, (Ottoman Turkish, Armenian, Greek, Arabic, Ladino, French...) required.

2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 30914 History of Turkey and Iran in the 20th century

(NEHC 20904)

This course will offer a survey of the main political and social developments in Turkey and Iran since the end of WWI.

Prerequisites

Some basic knowledge of modern Middle Eastern history suggested.

2017-2018 Autumn

NEHC 30921 Arab America

(SIGN 26026)

In this course, we will read a variety of texts that imagine or represent the Arab experience of exile to and diaspora within the United States, focusing on the ways that these texts re-construct and imagine the key dialectic of home/diasporic space, specifically within the framework of the complicated and dynamic relationship between the Arab world and the United States. Throughout the quarter, the readings would enable us to engage with several key concepts related to the Arab (and broader) immigrant experience in the US, including race, memory and nostalgia, language, and second-generational post-memory, as well as the role of the immigrant community in forming the ‘homeland’s’ vision of itself. We would begin with a historical overview of emigration from the Arabic-speaking world, beginning with the vast emigration of Lebanese and Syrians from Mount Lebanon and Syria in the mid-nineteenth century, but will pay particular attention to moments in which this identity has been or become particularly fraught, for example, following such events as the 1967 war, the 9/11 attacks, or the recent Executive Order by the Trump Administration (1/2017).

2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 30937 Nationalism and Colonialism in the Middle East

2017-2018 Winter

NEHC 37002 Introduction to the History Central Asia-2

(NEHC 27002,HIST 25805)

The focus of this class is on the social and political history of Central Eurasia from the end of the Timurid era to the present day, and will consider themes such as gender, ethnicity, religion, nation-building, nationalism, modernity discourse, language, and literature. Central Eurasia as a region is notoriously difficult to define, but in this course the geographic focus will span regions, which today comprise Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, the former Soviet Republics, and will touch upon neighboring areas, including Anatolia, Iran, Siberia, and India. As a course developed to engage students with the historiographical themes within a specific regional context, we will be able to analyze the historical and cultural developments of a region crucial to Islamic history. There is no prerequisite to enroll in this course.

August Samie
2017-2018 Spring

NEHC 39501 Politics of Gender, Modernity, and Home: Armenians in the Late Ottoman Empite and Early Republican Turkey

(NEHC 29501, HIST 25708/35708, GNSE 39501)

This course takes gender as a critical analytical tool in the study of the late Ottoman and early Turkish republican Armenian history. It offers a close reading of a range of original Armenian texts in English translation (mostly from the manuscript of Feminism in Armenian: An Interpretive Anthology by Melissa Bilal and Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, forthcoming 2019). These texts are primary sources in the form of literary works and political essays written by Armenian women in their native Ottoman capital and in its diaspora. They document a century of Armenian feminist thinking and activism. They provide us with precious resources to examine the ways in which Armenian women of the period defined and tackled feminism, equality, womanhood, manhood, freedom, justice, solidarity, awakening, enlightenment, modernity, progress, power, oppression, society, nation, community, state, homeland, and related concepts. The course situates their fight for emancipation both as Armenians and as women within the global beginnings of women’s liberation cause. It also historicizes women’s writings within the contemporary Armenian social, political, and intellectual life and the late Ottoman and early republican politics of sex and ethnic/national/racial difference. Throughout the term, we will be contextualizing women’s responses and interventions to the patriarchal family, moral double standards regulating female sexuality, male dominance in communal decision-making bodies, and the overall politics of modern Armenian nationhood. Secondary sources will help us better frame Armenian women’s 2 interventions to the public opinion and discourses on the relationship between the sexes and between communities in periods of social change and transformation. They will also enable us raise critical questions about gender and production of knowledge, about historical consciousness, and about politics of memory. We will situate the history of Armenian feminism within the scholarship on feminist historiography of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey and will address the formative silences in historical narratives.

Melissa Bilal
2017-2018 Spring