Lecture to be given 3/24 by MIT Professor Lerna Ekmekcioglu
HIEU 5559 (1)
New Course in European History
"Reframing the Viking Age (750-1000)"
- Tola had this stone raised for his son Harald, Yngvar's brother.
- Like men they journeyed for distant gold
- And in the East they fed the eagle
- In the south they died, in Serkland.
Viking runic epitaph from Gripsholm, Södermanland, Sweden
Scholars working across a range of fields and disciplines have transformed the ways in which we understand the so-called ‘Viking Age’, the period c. CE 750 to 1000 during which ‘the silver seekers from the North’, travelled, traded, raided and transformed the world around them. This course explores these developments and the current state of Viking studies. It is intended to introduce upper-level undergraduates with the relevant background of prior study and preparation and pre-ABD graduate students in History - and other related disciplines - to these developments and to the current state of Viking studies.
It is not intended as a general introduction to the period and it is not suitable for students lacking demonstrable experience of studying the history of the period. [HIEU 2061 is an introductory class covering this period.] Prerequisite class experience for undergraduates may include, but is not limited to: HIEU 3131; HIEU 3141, HIME 4511 (‘Medieval Sicily’).
Entry is by instructor permission only.
This course has a strong interdisciplinary approach. Class members will engage with archaeological, anthropological and epigraphic approaches to the Viking world, as well as reading primary sources and substantial secondary scholarship. Focus will fall upon questions of methodology, source analysis and the processes of historical modelling and interpretation. Connectivity will be a central issue of the class as we explore a Viking world that stretches from the Atlantic seaboard to Central Asia through complex networks of land, sea and river routes. In addition to exploring Scandinavian and north-western European societies (the British Isles, the Frankish world, the Saami) the class will look at less frequently studied groups: Frisians, Khazars, Samanids and others involved in the complex and transformative processes of movement and exchange. Reframing the Viking Age demands engagement on a range of scales from micro-studies - of individual texts, the archaeology of particular sites - to the exploration of the economic systems of early medieval western Eurasia that linked Khorasan to the Baltic and the North Sea.
In addition to participating in ongoing class discussion and providing critical leadership on specific works or issues through pre-circulated questions and textual commentaries students are required to post weekly commentary on the course WORDPRESS blog and write a 7000 word research paper a subject arising from the class.
Reading will average around 175-275 pages per week, rarely less, occasionally more.
This class cannot be taken for C/NC.
Assigned books for Fall 2015 may include:
- Anders Winroth, The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe (Yale, 2014).
- Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North, Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone, translators (Penguin, 2012).
- Stefan Brink and Neil Price, The Viking World (Routledge, 2011).
Early African History through the Era of the Slave Trade
This course will be taught by Professor Christina Mobley.
HIAF 2001 is an introductory course to the history of Africa from roughly the dawn of history until the era of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Over sixteen weeks we will proceed chronologically by region, learning about the great diversity of peoples, cultures, and climates that characterize the African continent. In this course, we will learn that Africa was never the “dark continent” that it is often supposed to be. A major focus of the course will be Africa’s engagement with the outside world, including the trans-Saharan trade, Swahili city-states and the Indian Ocean, and Trans-Atlantic trade. We will see how Africans have always been influential historical actors in world history, exploring how they interacted with their neighbors in ways that made sense to them and their communities.
Course material will be presented through interactive lectures and in-class discussion as well as in depth examination of primary and secondary historical courses, art and material culture. Evaluation will be based on class participation and a series of take-home writing assignments geared towards helping students develop their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. No prior knowledge of African history is required.
HIAF 1501 (1)
Introductory Seminar in African History
"Oceans Apart, Worlds Together: The History of the African Atlantic"
This course will be offered by Professor Christina Mobley.
Three out of every four migrants across the Atlantic Ocean were from Africa before 1800. In this course, we will explore the social and cultural implications of that statistic by examining first-hand accounts of historical actors, works of fiction and film, art and material culture, religion and analyses by scholars. We will begin in Africa before following Africans to the Americas, moving roughly chronologically from the early modern period to the present day.
This course introduces students to academic research and writing.
Course discussions and assignments are geared toward developing skills of critical thinking, reading and writing. As such, there are no examinations. Evaluation will be based on class participation and a series of writing assignments culminating in a final paper. The major assignment for the course is a 15-page research paper that students will write on a topic chosen in discussion with the professor. Students will be guided through the research and writing process. No previous knowledge of the history of Africa or African diaspora is required.
HIEU 3692 / GETR 3692
This course will be taught by Prof. Wiatman Beorn, a scholar of the Holocaust and of twentieth-century European history.
In this course we study the encounter between the Third Reich and Europe’s Jews between 1933 and 1945. This encounter resulted in the deaths of almost 6 million Jews. The course aims to clarify basic facts and explore competing explanations for the origins and unfolding of the Holocaust -- in Hebrew, "Shoah." We also explore the fate of persecuted non-Jewish groups under Nazism, survivors’ memories after the Holocaust, and the universal implications of the Holocaust.
This course is intended to acquaint students with the historical study of the Holocaust and assumes no prior training in the subject. We will read studies by important historians, contemporary documents, and memoirs. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements include written assignments and conscientious participation in class discussion.