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ARCH 2235 One Sea for All: Economic, Social and Artistic Interaction in the Medieval Mediterranean

Meets T 4:00-6:20. Rhode Island Hall, room 008.

Instructor: Fotini Kondyli

phone: 4018636231 email:Fotini Kondyli

Office Hours: Wednesdays 14:00-16:00 or by appointment

Office: Rhode Island Hall, room 007

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This seminar explores the interaction among people of the Medieval Mediterranean, not only among royal courts and state officials, but also at the level of local communities and individuals. With Byzantium as the central focus, we will study how Byzantines created and maintained networks of ideological, commercial and artistic communication with the Arabs, the Slavs, the Latins, and the Ottomans even in times of conflict and war. We will also be exploring how such encounters among people of different faiths, languages, and world views influenced political, economic and social transformations in the Medieval world.

Rationale

Strong dichotomies of East - West, Christian - Islamic, ‘us’ - ‘them’ are recurrent themes that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. For example, the Crusades are often portrayed as an epic struggle between two different faiths and world views. Such perceptions of the medieval past emphasize conflict and warfare, with less attention to artistic exchange, trade, and mutual cultural influence.

This seminar explores the interaction among people of the Medieval Mediterranean, not only among royal courts and state officials, but also at the level of local communities and individuals. With Byzantium as the central focus, we will study how Byzantines created and maintained networks of ideological, commercial and artistic communication with the Arabs, the Slavs, the Latins, and the Ottomans even in times of conflict and war. We will also be exploring how such encounters among people of different faiths, languages, and world views influenced political, economic and social transformations in the Medieval world.

Our understanding of such cross-cultural exchange is often filtered with a western ethnocentric view of the eastern Mediterranean. In order to develop a more nuanced understanding of the Medieval Mediterranean, we will explore recent work in the material culture of the region (i.e. traded objects, diplomatic gifts, monumental pieces of art and architecture, costume, weapons etc.) and discuss them in connection to theoretical themes in Orientalism, colonialism, ethnogenesis, and nationalism.

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Students are expected to abide with the Academic code of the University [link]

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