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ARCH2250 Island Archaeology in the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean is a world of islands, par excellence, and the island cultures that have developed there over the millennia have great archaeological distinctiveness. This seminar will consider the concept of insularity itself, in cross-cultural archeological, anthropological, and historical perspective. We will then turn to the rich, specifically Mediterranean literature on island archaeology (exploring issues of colonization, settlement, interaction).
M 3:00–5:20. Instructor: John Cherry
Download syllabus here:ARCH 2250 Syllabus.doc or read it on-line below
Class: M 3-5:20 p.m., Seminar Room, Joukowsky Institute
Instructor: Professor John Cherry
Phone: 863-6412; e-mail: email@example.com
Office Hours: Wednesday 2-4 p.m. (and by appointment)
Office: Room 301, Joukowsky Institute (70 Waterman Street)
Class wiki site: [link]
The Mediterranean is a world of islands, par excellence, and the island cultures that have developed there over the millennia have great archaeological distinctiveness. The question immediately arises: is this because they are bounded and somewhat isolated units, or, conversely, because their maritime setting has afforded enhanced levels of interaction? Some have suggested that islands offer useful “laboratories for the study of culture change,” while others deny that islands differ in any important respect from mainland areas and insist that insularity is contextually situated and a matter of cultural preference.
This seminar will begin by considering the concept of insularity itself, in cross-cultural archeological, anthropological, and historical perspective, paying particular attention to the potential utility of an island biogeographic framework. We will then turn to the specifically Mediterranean literature on island archaeology, reading some of the “classics,” and focusing in particular on island colonization, strategies of settlement, the emergence of island interaction zones, the exploitation of distinctive island resources and the development of exchange networks, and the incorporation of islands within socio-economic and political systems of wider geographic extent. This part of the seminar will have a strongly prehistoric emphasis.
Later in the semester, participants will have the opportunity to develop class presentations and a term paper focusing on any Mediterranean island or island group, in any period, but always emphasizing theoretical constructs of insularity. In general, we will pay attention to some of the classic contributions to this field (e.g., Fernand Braudel’s The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, 1972), as well as to very recent works, such as Horden and Purcell’s The Corrupting Sea (2000), Broodbank’s An Island Archaeology of the Early Cyclades (2000), and Grove and Rackham’s The Nature of Mediterranean Europe (2001).
Jan. 28 Orientation to the seminar
Feb. 4 Introductory readings on Mediterranean islands
Feb. 11 Insularity as a concept
Feb. 18 No class — Brown Long Weekend
Feb. 25 The colonization of the islands: theory, pattern, and process in the Mediterranean
Mar. 3 Problems & impacts of first settlement in individual island groups
Ma. 10 Island biogeography and its relevance for archaeological issues
Mar. 17 Island sociogeography and “cultural efflorescence”: does insularity make islands “odd places”?
Mar. 24 No class — Brown Spring Recess
Mar. 31 Topics, problems, and issues in Mediteranean island archaeology: I [This will be driven in large part by student interest, though I have plenty of my own suggestions]
Apr. 7 Topics, problems, and issues in Mediteranean island archaeology: II
Apr. 14 Presentation and discussion of term papers: I
Apr. 21 Presentation and discussion of term papers: II
May 16: Written Term papers due
• Thoughtful reading of each week’s assignments, and energetic contribution to discussion in the seminar. Generally, we will all read everything, but each of you will choose or be assigned one article to summarize and critique in a handout of 2 or 3 paragraphs, as a means of initiating discussion.
• For week of February 4, each of you will give a short presentation (based on sources I will suggest) on our current understanding of the settlement of individual islands or island groups in the Mediterranean.
• Term paper, on a topic of your choice; 20-25 pages, due by last day of the Brown Reading Period (May 16). You will present draft versions of your papers in the last two meetings of the seminar; the final written version of your paper should take account of comment, suggestions, and criticism received then.
This is a small graduate course, and your regular attendance and active involvement is essential. All students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings, and to participate in discussion. Grades will be based on individual in-class presentations and assignments (25%), general level of class participation (25%), a significant term paper (40%), and the oral presentation of your term paper in class (10%).
• There will be a reserve shelf in the Joukowsky Institute Library, where xeroxes of assigned articles or books will be placed (although many of the readings will be provided as pdf files for download on the class wiki). Some additional works, not specifically assigned, but potentially useful as you develop topics and term papers, will also be placed on reserve. In particular, there are two very recent additions to the literature of which you should be aware: P. Rainbird, The Archaeology of Islands (Cambridge 2007), and the new Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, launched in 2006.
• By permission, I am able to make available to you electronically:
(a) the entire bibliography of Broodbank’s important and up-to-date book An Island Archaeology of the Early Cyclades (2000). Broodbank Ref List.doc
(b) an earlier (now somewhat out-of-date, but still useful, and massive) bibliography on island archaeology, ecology, and biogeography, compiled by Steve O. Held. Held Island Bibliog.doc