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HY104: Culture, Society, and History: The Mediterranean

The course focuses on the Mediterranean Sea and on the cultures it supported, connected, and divided. It examines the ways in which the sea itself shaped the societies which emerged on its edges, looking at the links between geography, ecology, and history. More specifically, students explore three major cultures: classical Greece, the Christian, and the Islamic from the ancient to the contemporary period, paying close attention to the ways they imagined the cosmic order and translated these visions of the divine into social and political structures. The course looks at how each culture saw itself but also how each saw the others. Although often in conflict, these cultures still influenced each other in key ways. Students will examine the exchange of ideas, technology, and material goods as well as the moments of intense confrontation such as the Crusades and the current “clash of civilizations”.