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Home > Graduate Program > Current Seminar Descriptions

Current Seminar Descriptions

Current Seminar Descriptions

Fall Seminars 2014

To enroll in an ISAW seminar, you must first obtain the permission of the instructor. You may then forward the permission email to kathryn.lawson@nyu.edu to get the registration access code.

 

The Exact Sciences in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
Alexander Jones
Mondays, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
alexander.jones@nyu.edu

ISAW-GA 3002

In this seminar we will examine episodes in the circulation of scientific knowledge and practices in the Mediterranean world (broadly conceived) from the third century CE to the end of the first millennium. The approach will be primarily through study of original texts, some of which will be chosen according to the specific interests and expertise of participants.

Knowledge of one or more of the relevant ancient languages (Greek in particular, Latin, Arabic, ...) is required. Permission of the instructor required.

Late Antique Documents
Roger Bagnall
Mondays, 9:00am – 12:00pm
roger.bagnall@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3007

The seminar will examine a series of papyrus archives from late antique Egypt and Palestine, mostly in Greek but with some documents partly or entirely in Latin, Coptic, and Arabic. The archives will range from villages to cities, private to public, and secular to monastic. Readings will be mostly of primary documents but also some modern discussions of the archives. The central focuses will be on the formation of what we call archives, their potential for historical study, and their limitations.

A reading knowledge of Greek and either French or German is required. Permission of the instructor required.

Art, Archaeology and Material Culture
Lillian Tseng
Wednesdays, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
lillian.tseng@nyu.edu

ISAW-GA 3010

This seminar explores various approaches that help us understand and elaborate the unearthed objects of extraordinary craftsmanship, a large corpus of fascinating material that has not yet been fully studied by archaeologists or art historians. The seminar seeks to strike a balance between methodological reflections and case studies. Theories and examples to be investigated are not limited to any specific cultural area.

Permission of the instructor required.

 

Early Chinese Literary Manuscripts
Adam Schwartz
Fridays, 1:00 – 4:00pm
acs21@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3012

This text-reading course will introduce the major corpora of newly discovered Early Chinese literary manuscripts and the philological methods fundamental to work with them.  Readings will be from the Zhou through the Han, with focus on Warring States genre and popular readership, provincial scripts and stationery.

Permission of the instructor required.


Greek and Roman Portraiture

Hallie Franks
Mondays, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
hmf2@nyu.edu

ISAW-GA 3013

This course will engage with critical issues that surround the study of ancient portraiture traditions in the Greek and Roman worlds. Some of the questions we will address over the course of the semester include: How do modern assumptions about the function and genre of portraiture, and its relationship to the subject, impact approaches to ancient material? How do we develop a vocabulary for the different potential relationships between subject and visual product? How do we think about intent, and what kinds of material provide context for interpretation? How do portraits serve in public or private roles in different ways? How can we use traditions of portraiture to think about ancient concepts of and expressions of various identities? This course deals primarily with classical material, but it also involves critical engagement with and analysis of the visual and the processes of contextualization.

Permission of the instructor required.


Advanced Reading of Akkadian: The Political and Cultural Relations between Assur and Babylon

Beate Pongratz-Leisten
Tuesdays, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
bpl2@nyu.edu

ISAW-GA 3014-001

In addition to consolidating the knowledge of Akkadian grammar the Advanced Reading of Akkadian Class is designed to introduce into various dialects of Akkadian from a diversity of regions and periods and to familiarize the student with a diversity of paleographies as well as text categories. The text corpus to be studied will include royal inscriptions, letters, letters from gods to the king, and chronicles.

At least one year of Akkadian is required. Permission of the instructor required.


Advanced Reading of Akkadian: Incantations, Prayers, and Rituals

Beate Pongratz-Leisten
Thursdays 11:00am – 1:00pm
bpl2@nyu.edu

ISAW-GA 3014-002

In addition to consolidating the knowledge of Akkadian grammar the Advanced Reading of Akkadian Class is designed to introduce into various dialects of Akkadian from a diversity of regions and periods and to familiarize the student with a diversity of paleographies as well as text categories. The text corpus to be studied will include incantations, prayers, and rituals from Ebla, Kanesh, Emar in Northern Syria as well as Assyrian and Babylonian cities.

At least one year of Akkadian. Permission of the instructor required.


Peoples and Lands of the Zagros: From Gutium to Ellipi

Daniel T. Potts
Tuesdays, 9:00am – 12:00pm
dtp2@nyu.edu

ISAW-GA 3018

This seminar will examine the native peoples and regions of the Zagros mountain regions (Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Luristan) from their first appearance in cuneiform sources of the third millennium BC to the end of the Assyrian/Neo-Elamite period. Principle groups and regions that will be considered include Gutium, Simurrum, Lullubum, the Turukkaeans, Mannaea and Ellipi. The role of Ur III, Kassite, Assyrian and Urartian territorial ambitions in the region will be investigated as well as the nature of the landscape and the groups that inhabited it through time.

No formal requirements, but good reading knowledge of German and French would be helpful. Permission of the instructor required.


The Transition from Late Antiquity to Early Islam

Robert Hoyland
Tuesdays, 9:00am – 12:00pm
rgh2@nyu.edu

ISAW-GA 3020-001

This course focuses on the question of what changed and what did not change in Near Eastern society in the course of the fifth to ninth centuries AD.  Consideration will be given to both the micro level (individual objects, themes, groups etc) and the macro level (was Pirenne right about the disruptive nature of the Arab conquests, is Becker's characterization of Islam as the culmination of late antique culture apt, etc). and to literary and archaeological themes and sources.

Permission of the instructor required.

The Body in the Ancient World
Claire Bubb
Wednesdays, 9:00am – 12:00pm
claire.coiro@gmail.com

ISAW-GA 3020-002

This seminar will consider ancient understanding of and attitudes towards the human body. Our primary goal will be to trace the shifting conceptions of human physiology from Egyptian medical papyri to the Arabic tradition, with a heavy focus on the Greeks and Romans. How did cultures with strong taboos around the body form theories about the organs hidden within it? How did the ancients grapple with the brain, the nervous system, and the interrelationship of the soul and the body? How did the concept of the humors develop and what were the rival theories? How close did the Greeks come to understanding blood and the circulatory system and why did they miss its circular nature? Why did Galen’s physiology come to dominate Western thought for centuries after his death, and how did the Arabic authors responsible for much of its transmission receive and respond to his theories? In order to understand the cultural context behind the development and evolution of these theories, we will also briefly consider religious, literary, and artistic treatment of the body, including burial customs, the centrality of the body to early Christianity, and the fascination with the body revealed across literary genres, particularly rhetoric and the novels.

Permission of the instructor required.

 

Past Seminars