2022-2023

NEHC 20042/30042 Medicine and Culture in the Middle East

This course examines the intersections of culture, politics, and biomedicine in the Middle East from a variety of theoretical and scholarly approaches. Students will study different conceptualizations of health, healing, the body, and personhood in the region, with a strong emphasis on biomedicine and contemporary state and governmental processes. Key topics covered in class include but are not limited to: the rise of western biomedicine in the region; religious perspectives of the body; Islam and organ trafficking and transplantation; racialized bodies in medical science; war and medicine, sex, gender, and reproductive technologies, and the impact of COVID-19 across the region.

2022-2023 Spring

NEHC 20041/30041 Ethnography in the Middle East

This anthropology course centers on ethnographic research conducted in and about the Middle East, but it also trains students in the practice of ethnographic field research methods. Ethnography is at the heart of the discipline of cultural anthropology. In this course, we will study what ethnography is, where ethnographic fieldwork has been conducted in the Middle East, and why, and what political and social conditions have shaped knowledge of the region. We will ultimately discover the ways in which ethnography is a complex embodied human practice.
This class has two primary learning objectives. First, to teach students how to do ethnographic fieldwork about the Middle East through assignments that mobilize various techniques, including participant observation, mapping a field-site, interviews, “deep hanging out,” gathering documents, producing genealogies and writing up field-notes. Over the course of the semester students will draw on these short assignments to produce a final ethnographic research paper on some aspect of social life. Second, alongside short fieldwork assignments, students will study the history and theoretical debates of ethnography in the Middle East, such as discussions about the politics of representation, the construction of ‘otherness’ in knowledge, colonialism and its relationship to the social sciences, gender and race theory, and the ethics of conducting research among different vulnerable groups.

2022-2023 Spring

NEHC 20500 Identity and the Other in the Qur’an

How did the Qur’an, Islam’s holy text, articulate what it meant to be a Muslim by constructing the confessional other? How did the social, cultural, and political context of the Qur’an’s interpreters influence their conceptions of gender or ethnicity? This course explores identities and identity formation in the Qur’an and its interpretation by asking how identity was articulated through the construction of the religious, ethnic, or gendered “other.” You will read English translations from the Qur’an, literature associated with its interpretation (exegesis tafsir, biography sira, sayings of the Prophet hadith, and “occasions of revelation” asbab al-nuzul), as well as relevant secondary literature. By the end of the course, you will be familiar with the structure and content of the Qur’an, its history as a text, the early Islamic community, and Qur’anic revelations’ relationship to other Abrahamic faiths (Christianity and Judaism). No prior knowledge of Middle Eastern history or languages is required, but if you have interests in the study of the Middle East, the Qur’an, or identity, you are strongly encouraged to incorporate your own experiences, research, or projects into the course.

 

Kyle Longworth
2022-2023

AKKD 10501 Introduction to Babylonian I

Introduction to the grammar of Akkadian, specifically to the Old Babylonian dialect. The class covers the first half of the Old Babylonian grammar, an introduction to the cuneiform script, and easy translation exercises.

Susanne Paulus
2022-2023 Autumn

TURK 40589 Advanced Ottoman Historical Texts

(HIST 58301)

Based on selected readings from major Ottoman chronicles from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, the course provides an introduction to the use of primary narrative materials and an overview of the development and range of Ottoman historical writing. Knowledge of modern and Ottoman Turkish required.

Prerequisites

TURK 20103 or equivalent

Cornell Fleischer
2022-2023 Autumn

AANL 20129 Hittite vows

This class introduces the Hittite Vow texts as part of Hittite religion and economy.

Theo van den Hout
2022-2023 Autumn

NEAA 20001/30001 Archeology of the Ancient Near East I: Mesopotamia

This course surveys Mesopotamian archaeology from late prehistory (7th millennium BCE) through the age of empires (mid-1st millennium BCE). Data will comprise landscapes, settlement patterns, sites and material culture; themes include the development of social complexity, innovations in technology and political economy, the impacts of climate change, and the interplay of textual and material evidence for inter-regional connections. The course is intended for both graduate and undergraduate students.

Augusta McMahon
2022-2023 Autumn

NEHC 20016 Ancient Empires VI: Assyrian Empire

This course will examine the concept and definition of empire and the practices of imperial control through a case study of Mesopotamia’s best-known empire, the Neo-Assyrian (first half of the 1st millennium BCE). At its peak, the Assyrians ruled a vast area covering most of modern Iraq and Syria, plus parts of Iran, Turkey and the Levant, with aspirations to control Egypt. The gradual expansion of this empire from late 2nd millennium BCE beginnings and its extremely rapid collapse in ca. 612 BCE provide an excellent example of the tensions within trajectories of empire. The course themes include warfare and political strategies, identity and ethnicity, imperial bureaucracy, and the practical and ideological purposes of infrastructure building. Evidence examined will include texts (in translation) and the archaeological record at various scales, from settlements through artworks. We will also examine paradoxes, such as the contrast between textual claims of hegemony and limited archaeological evidence for this, and the power of visual propaganda versus its select audience.

Augusta McMahon
2022-2023 Spring

NEHC 20211 Alexander and his Successors on the Silk Road: History and Reception

In usual historiography, Alexander’s campaigns from 336 to 323 BCE ushered in an age of intense cultural exchange between Hellenism and various eastern cultures that lasted until late antiquity. Applying the concept of the “Silk Road,” this course will explore cultural exchanges between the Greco-Roman world and the East from the 4th century BCE to the 3rd century CE as well as how contemporary East Asian media products represent this age. Primary sources originally written in Greek, Latin, Iranian, Babylonian, and Chinese will be read in English translations.

In usual historiography, Alexander’s campaigns from 336 to 323 BCE ushered in an age of intense cultural exchange between Hellenism and various eastern cultures that lasted until late antiquity. Applying the concept of the “Silk Road,” this course will explore cultural exchanges between the Greco-Roman world and the East from the 4th century BCE to the 3rd century CE as well as how contemporary East Asian media products represent this age. Primary sources originally written in Greek, Latin, Iranian, Babylonian, and Chinese will be read in English translations.

Prerequisites
Yanxiao He
2022-2023 Spring

NEAA 20036/30036 Mesopotamian Cities

Cities are extraordinarily successful forms of human settlement, currently home to over 6 billion people around the world. They offer employment opportunities, production efficiency, and expansive social networks. However, they also have negative impacts on social lives, health, resources, and the environment; they are deep wells of inequality, isolation, and disease. Were ancient cities similarly difficult? Through alternating lectures and seminars, this course examines ancient Mesopotamian cities from the perspective of city life and urban challenges, comprising the positive and negative aspects and possible compensatory factors to urban living in the past. We will examine cities from the world’s earliest, in the 4th millennium BCE, through mature cities of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE, to the artificial imperial cities of the 1st millennium BCE.

Augusta McMahon
2022-2023 Spring
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