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HY200 – Imagining Jordan: Myth, History, and Identity

What does it mean to be Jordanian at the start of the twenty-first century? What does the long mythic and historical past of this region mean for questions of personal and national identity?

The Nabatean city of Petra
The Nabatean city of Petra

Instructor(s)

Professor Bryant Ragan email
Associate Professor Jane Murphy email

Through site visits, historical, literary, and political texts, and engagement with host-families and local residents, we’ll re-examine identity and historical imagination in this desert and mountain land. We’ll visit the Nabatean capital of Petra (one of the Seven Wonders of the World), Old and New Testament sites, and Roman sites in Amman and the well-preserved Roman city of Jerash, to consider religious and ethnic pluralism in antiquity; camp with Bedouins in the desert of Wadi Rum and consider desert life and its role in Islamic reality and myth; visit crusader castles and explore military and trade in the medieval Mediterranean world; and enjoy and examine the expanding eco-tourism of the Dead Sea and mountainous Ajloun. Ultimately, we seek to understand how this long historical past inflects contemporary political relationships with the large Palestinian population and neighboring Israel, Syria and Iraq, and how Jordan has remained so safe and stable in the modern period.

Prerequisite: (Admission to Mediterranean Program: Morocco and Jordan) (Writing in the Discipline)