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HY104 – Culture, Society, and History: The Mediterranean

This course focuses on the Mediterranean Sea and on the cultures it supported, connected, and divided. We’ll examine the ways in which the sea itself shaped the societies which emerged on its edges, looking at the links between geography, ecology, and history.


Professor Susan Ashley email

In particular, we’ll explore three major cultures: the Greek and Roman, the Christian, and the Muslim, paying close attention to the ways they imagined the cosmic order and translated these visions of the divine into social and political structures. We’ll look at how each saw itself but also how each saw the others. Although often in conflict, these cultures still influenced each other in key ways. We’ll examine the exchange of ideas, goods, power, and people as well as the moments of intense confrontation such as the Crusades and the current “clash of civilizations.”

Primary texts, films, and historical studies will provide the basis for our collective discussion of the connections and conflicts across and around the Mediterranean.

Prerequisite: FYE course. 1st Years Only.