Course Descriptions

Professor and students with laptops around table in classrom ©Kahn: Courtesy of NYU Photo Bureau To enroll in an ISAW course, you must first obtain the permission of the instructor. You may then forward the permission email to to get the registration access code. All classes are held in the 2nd-floor Seminar Room unless indicated otherwise.

Fall 2019: Seminar on the Interconnected Ancient World: Themes

Myth in the Ancient World
Beate Pongratz-Leisten & Roderick Campbell
bpl2@nyu.edu; rbc2@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3030-001
Tuesdays, 2-5pm 

What is myth? Since the 19th century it has been defined in opposition to science or to history – a primitive, false mode of thought. Post-secular theory has, however, noted that the death of the sacred has been greatly exaggerated, and mythopoesis has never stopped. If an archaeology of contemporary thought shows that science did not free us from deep narrative, or the necessity of structuring our beliefs about and practices in the world, then we must confront the fact that humans have always ordered and organized experience in narrative form (among others). If myth is broadly understood as deep, meaningful story then we might ask what specific myths tell us about particular societies, how they relate to other genres of story, history, or more, broadly, representation. Do different societies construct myths in the same way? Do myths reveal fragments of (past?) worldview or do they mean in a different way than other forms of narrative?

Rather than considering ancient myth as an archaic state of the mind, this course approaches myth as one pragmatic analytical category beside others, which operates as a metaphor to understand and experience one kind of thing in terms of another. Ancient mythography, on the one hand, organizes and systematizes the divine world in terms of genealogy, hierarchy, and functions and roles of divinity.  On the other hand, as conceptual metaphor, myth through projecting the social human world onto an otherworldly level, provides explanatory models and orienting patterns of behavior for the human world. The seminar pursues several trajectories: one is to familiarize ourselves with important former approaches to myth. The other is to understand the difference between myth as conceptual metaphor that can inform the various media of text, ritual, and art, and myth as a particular narrative that found its form in a text. A third step will be to study how questions of central human concern found their way into mythography, that is questions of origin and creation, the origin of humankind, the experience of death and the quest for immortality, the aetiological and analogical functions of myth in ritual, the relationship between myth and ritual. We will compare material from the ancient Near East, the Classical World, and ancient China.

Requirements: The texts will be provided in translation. Students of the respective fields, however, are required to reengage with the primary sources when necessary for the discussion.

Students are required to do short response papers to the readings and a presentation in combination with a written final paper.

Permission of the instructors is required.

Fall 2019: Research Seminars

Advanced Study in Early Medieval Chinese Art & Archaeology
Lillian Tseng
lillian.tseng@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3010-001
Mondays, 1-4pm 

This course is intended to provide intensive analyses of primary sources and related scholarship in early medieval Chinese art & archaeology for graduate students who have sufficient knowledge of the field.

Ability to read Classical Chinese and permission of the instructor required.

From Greek to Arabic: Science and Scholarship across Culture & Time
Claire Bubb & Robert Hoyland
cc148@nyu.edu; rgh2@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3012-001
Thursdays, 9am-12pm 

In the course of the eighth-tenth centuries AD thousands of texts were translated from foreign tongues (especially Greek and Persian) into Arabic. So extensive was this activity that modern Western scholars have labelled it a movement, “the translation movement”. The epithet is well deserved in that the activity was not sporadic or haphazard, but to a substantial degree thorough and systematic.  Thus almost all non-literary and non-historical secular Greek works that were available throughout the Byzantine empire and the Middle East were translated into Arabic. One of the key factors driving this movement were the demands for applied and theoretical scientific knowledge made by those engaged in running the vast Muslim empire, now stretching from Morocco to Afghanistan.  Most prominent were the illustrious subjects of philosophy and medicine, but also many texts were translated in the fields of engineering, agriculture, veterinary science, chemistry, astronomy, geometry, administrative studies, and so on – all essential aids to the smooth workings of an empire. Perhaps just as important, at least in the eyes of the Muslim rulers who patronized this activity, was the desire to emulate and outdo the Persian Emperors whom they had replaced, basing themselves in Baghdad, only a stone’s throw away from the old Persian imperial capital of Seleucia-Ctesiphon.

One of the aims of this course will be to look at the debates about the nature of the “Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement” that have arisen in the twenty years since Dimitri Gutas published his influential Greek Thought, Arabic Culture (Routledge, 1998). A huge amount of very impressive scholarly effort has gone into further reconstruction work and there have been some notable advances in this arena.  The topic of transmission is more contested.  It used to consist just of good-natured reflections on the degree to which other cultures besides the Graeco-Roman world played a part (especially Persian and Indian) and the importance of Syriac as an intermediary language.  However, of late the discussions have become more heated.  At the heart of it is the “what-have-the-Arabs-ever-done-for-us” question. A liberal Islam-sensitive agenda has promoted the message that the West owes its knowledge of the classics, and hence its great leap forward in the Renaissance, to the Arabs. Although this sentiment contains a lot of truth (bar the use of the term “Arab”, which obscures the contribution of many people of very different ethnic and religious backgrounds), there have been reactions to it.  Sylvain Gougenheim, in his Aristote au Mont Saint Michel (Seuil, 2008), argues that knowledge of the classics did not die in “dark-age” Europe and there were characters like the twelfth-century Jacques de Venise who translated the classics directly from Greek into Latin, not via Arabic.  Jack Tannous (The Making of the Medieval Middle East, Princeton 2018) has emphasized, rightly, that Syriac Christianity had already absorbed classical learning before Islam and continued it and tutored their new rulers in it after the Arab conquests.  Beckwith in an interesting and pugnacious book (Warriors of the Cloisters, Princeton 2012) alleges that Central Asian Buddhist viharas were the inspiration for Middle Eastern madrasas and European universities and that both regions were indebted to Central Asia for the scientific method (including the crucial recursive style of argument).  Besides this, debates tend to focus on the more technical questions of who did what how, where and why (What was the role of the Abbasid caliphs in the translation movement? Why did no translation seem to take place under the Umayyads? Where did the manuscripts come from? What were the methods of translators? Was the “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad an institute for facilitating translation or just a library? How important were Greek texts for the rise of Islamic theology? Etc.).

We will approach the subject of this course in two principal ways. First, we will look at some key Greek texts, consider them on their own terms and in their own context before then considering their Arabic translation, how it was received, what purpose it served in this new culture, and so on. Second, we will discuss in depth certain topics that help to understand the nature of the originating/target civilization (Greco-Roman/Islamic) and the mechanics of the translation (socio-cultural background of the translators and commissioners, methods of translation, motives for translation etc).

Pre-requisites: Familiarity with Greek or Arabic will be helpful, but is not required

Assessment: a final paper based on research into one of the topics covered in this course

Permission of the instructors is required.

Anthropologies of Representation: Semiosis & Ontology
Roderick Campbell
rbc2@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3012-002
Fridays, 2-5pm 

Representation, broadly conceived, is key to the mediation of human sensory experience and perception. It is, in other words, a fundamental aspect of human being in the world. This course will pursue this broad sense of representation through the strands of phenomenology, semiotics, and ontology that comprise contemporary approaches to things, materiality, relationality and being. While the material turn has attempted to put things back into the social and discursive even as ontological approaches have worked to destabilize Modern Western assumptions concerning their nature, semiotics has begun to make a return. Despite the sense that semiotics belongs to outmoded textual approaches to social theory, the fact remains that neither actor-networks nor relational ontologies exist in an unmediated reality beyond human semiosis. What might, for instance, an image be if objects are destabilized into networks and being is relational? What of icon, symbol or pattern when both mind and nature are mutually constituted through representations mediating reality? This course will tackle the issues surrounding putting semiotics back into things.

Permission of the instructor is required.

Curating Ancient Art
Niv Allon & Clare Fitzgerald
Niv.Allon@metmuseum.org; cpf213@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3013-001
Mondays, 9am-12pm

This course explores major issues in the curation of ancient art through study of past and present modes of collecting and display in museums. Topics will include acquisition and cultural property, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary narratives, the incorporation of new technologies and other modes of display, as well as audience development and engagement. Through these inquiries we will ask how we might bring visitors into meaningful conversation with the ancient world.

Permission of the instructors is required.

Buddhism in Central Asia
Sören Stark & Annette Juliano
ss5951@nyu.edu; alj328@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3013-002
Thursdays, 2-5pm

Buddhism was the first proselytizing world religion to spread over large parts of the Ancient world, finding its way into countries and cultures very different from its area of origin. Central Asia played a major and multifaceted role in this process.

This class will focus on Western Central and its role in the dissemination and subsequent development of Buddhist communities, doctrines, and iconographies. We will systematically discuss the archaeological evidence – from the Hindukush regions of Kabulistan, Bamiyan, and Gandhara, over Bactria/Tokharistan, and Khorasan, up to the Chu and Talas area north of the Tianshan. This will enable us to approach questions about trade and patronage networks as important conduits for the original spread of Buddhism outside of India, the most important visual and non-visual media involved, and the artistic dialogue between Buddhist and non-Buddhist iconographies in Western Central Asia. Finally, we will look into the legacy of Buddhism after the coming of Islam to many regions of this vast area.

Permission of the instructors is required.

Advanced Reading of Akkadian: The Interface between Historical & Religious Texts
Beate Pongratz-Leisten
bpl2@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3018-001
Thursdays, 11am-1pm
Large Conference Room, 6th Floor

In addition to consolidating the knowledge of Akkadian grammar the Advanced Reading of Akkadian Class is designed to introduce into the Neo-Assyrian and Standard Babylonian grammar.

In this Akkadian Reading Seminar we will trace the textualization of two historical episodes in various text genres: the first one is King Esarhaddon’s ascension to the throne attested in the genres of the Assyrian oracles as well as his so-called Apology, which forms an extensive introduction to his prism inscription Nineveh A. The historical inscription will be contrasted with the textualization of the episode in the oracles spoken primarily by the goddess Ishtar including some other divinities. The second episode is the war between the two brothers Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria and his brother Shamash-sum-ukin, governor of Babylon, which is attested in the genres of royal inscription, letters, and the letter of the god Assur addressed to Ashurbanipal.

Requirements: At least one year of Akkadian

Grading: Reading of the texts (50%); Final (50%)

Permission of the instructor is required.

Recent Archaeological Research in Iraqi Kurdistan
Daniel Potts
daniel.potts@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3018-002
Wednesdays, 11am-2pm
Large Conference Room, 6th Floor

In this seminar we shall read reports and synthetic studies from the past 10-15 years of archaeological research in Iraqi Kurdistan. The aim is to identify what is distinctive about the archaeological and historical record of the region, and how the new data relates to what was previously known about northern Mesopotamia from prehistory to the Sasanian era.

Prerequisites: basic understanding of Mesopotamian archaeology; reading knowledge of French and German

Permission of the instructor is required.

Introduction to Digital Humanities for the Ancient World
Sebastian Heath, Tom Elliott, & David Ratzan
sh1933@nyu.edu; tom.elliott@nyu.edu; david.ratzan@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3024-001
Wednesdays, 2-5pm 

This course will introduce students to the use of digital tools and computational methods in the study of the Ancient World. There are no technical prerequisites and the course will be of particular interest to early-stage graduate students who want a broad introduction that involves hands-on work. The course will progress through areas such as applying structure to text via XML-based markup languages, introduction to the programmatic manipulation of textual data, and how scholarly resources are shared on the public internet and edited in collaborative environments, including content management systems and GitHub. There will also be a focus on structured datasets stored in relational databases. Students will gain practical experience in acquiring, creating, querying, and displaying spatial data. The integration of visual media such as digital images and 3D models will be explored. There will also be frequent introductions to existing work in disciplines that are part of the study of the ancient world, including papyrology, numismatics, textual studies, history, and archaeology. Readings will introduce students to current trends in Digital Humanities and will encourage discussion of the impact digital methods and open-licensed content are having on research, teaching, and public engagement with scholarly practice. Over the course of the semester students will design and then implement a final project that can overlap with their existing research interests. Students are required to bring their own notebook computers to class. It is a requirement that students bring their own notebook computers to class.

Permission of the instructors is required.

Fall 2019: Other Courses

Intro to Ancient Egyptian I
ISAW-GA 1000-001
Marc J. LeBlanc
marc.leblanc@nyu.edu
Fridays, 10am-1pm

This course, the first in a two-semester sequence, will introduce students to the Middle Egyptian (Classical) dialect of the ancient Egyptian language. Students will become familiar with the hieroglyphic writing system, as well as key elements of the grammar and vocabulary of Middle Egyptian.

Permission of the instructor is required.

Spring 2020: Seminar on the Interconnected Ancient World: Periods

Ancient Eurasia at the End of the 2nd Millennium BCE
Lorenzo d'Alfonso & Roderick Campbell
lda5@nyu.edu; rbc2@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3031-001
Tuesdays, 2-5pm

The end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean is essential to the study of Antiquity since it provided, together with the biblical narrative, the main impulse to archaeology from the 19th century onward. Today we know that its most representative case, the Graeco-Roman epics of the war and fall of Troy is only one of a rich number of major Bronze age centers of the eastern Mediterranean experiencing a dramatic process of change from a rich, interconnected palace-based political system controlled by a club of big powers, to novel forms of knowledge and aggregation. Though this stage has been labeled a Dark Age because of the scanty textual evidence, archaeological work of the last decade has rapidly changed the situation.

Between the late 13th and the 11th c. BCE Western Asia experienced two parallel historical developments. The fall of the palace systems produced a phase of new local experimentations in Greece, Anatolia, Syria and the Levant. In Mesopotamia and Egypt, by converse, the kingdoms of Assyria, Babylonia and Egypt survived the political turmoil, though both were marked with significantly reduced territorial control and by the development of an even stronger sense of political identity and tradition.

At the opposite side of the continent, in East Asia, the Great Settlement Shang was founded at Anyang in the reign of Wu-ding in the 13th century BCE, becoming the largest center in East Asia (and perhaps the world) by the time of its conquest in the 11th century BCE. The Great Settlement was both the culmination of millennia of social political development and at the same time the site of a suite of novel sovereign technologies – writing, the horse and chariot, monumental royal tombs and mass human sacrifice. Under pressure from the north and west, the Shang polity shrank and was finally conquered by a confederacy of Western groups led by the Zhou who then spread their conquests across north China, replacing the Shang hegemony. Despite the collapse of kingdoms, the movement of people, novel developments and the integration of disparate regions, the narrative of Early China has always been told as a story of the cyclic rise and fall of dynasties – chapters in the history of the world's longest continuous civilization.

For both areas movements of peoples have clearly played a crucial role, and in both cases the impact of populations moving from the steppes in Central Asia are relevant. Central Asia itself had at his time by its own extraordinary developments which we mainly connect with horse breading, chariot riding elites and their sedentary production sites changing into the advent a new phase characterized by the iron metallurgy, and horse-riding nomads.

Global climate change occurred at the turn of the 13th century BCE, and the different historical outcomes are there to show how microclimatic features, as well as the social process of perception and response generate multiple, often opposing results both in adjoining regions and in far away regions.

The course aims at introducing participants to the different realizations of processes and transformations of complex societies across the Asiatic continent. Through the discussion of the main interpretative works, and the focus on paradigmatic and at the same time unique case studies, it will explore the different dynamics and the different questions asked by historians and archaeologists often directly linked with the set of primary sources typical of each area.

Permission of the instructors is required.

Spring 2020: Research Seminars

The Greek Sciences of Optics and Harmonics
Alexander Jones
Aj60@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3002-001
Mondays, 2-5pm

Optics and Harmonics developed as partly mathematical, partly physical approaches to understanding aspects of visual and auditory perception. In this course we will focus on a few landmark texts, including the Optics and Sectio Canonis in the Euclidean corpus, Aristoxenus, and Ptolemy's Harmonics and Optics, bringing them into relation with philosophical treatments of sense theory and epistemology, and highlighting their diverse approaches to mathematical and empirical demonstration and modelling.

Permission of the instructor is required.

The Economic Policy of the Roman Empire
Gilles Bransbourg
gb1077@nyu.edu; gbransbourg@numismatics.org
ISAW-GA 3012-001
Wednesdays, 9am-12pm

According to a widely shared view, Rome’s imperial authorities were essentially reactive, minting coins and raising taxes mainly in order to pay the army and fund urban elites' lavish lifestyle, with no concern or even awareness of what the concept of economic policy might be. More generally, pre-Adam Smith societies are often deemed to be hopelessly devoid of economic rationality. This seminar will for the most part work around quite a different narrative, as articulated economic thinking predates economics as a recognized scientific field. The Roman state, far from simply adjusting its policy to short-term events and risks, conceptualized its existential challenges and developed a set of pragmatic policies that aimed at ensuring its long-term sustainability as a hegemonic political entity. With a quantitative focus, we will aim at a global and dynamic narrative of the economic policies that managed to successfully bring the city-state of Rome to imperial status in the 2nd century BCE and then supported its further expansion, prosperity and survival until the Empire’s 7th century CE partial disintegration. We will cover the topic’s most major aspects, dealing with the set of legal, monetary, fiscal, political, military, and logistical policies implemented during the Roman imperial era.

Our focus will include - without being exhaustive - the implementation, expansion and management of Roman and provincial monetary and taxation systems, the question of the annona (feeding Rome and the army), the relationships with local authorities (the Empire as a federation of cities and ethnies), the relationships between the nascent imperial bureaucracy and private actors (eg mining, land management, road transport and shipping). We will take into account the geographic and chronologic diversity of the various solutions that were implemented: eg, the successive manners by which taxation was levied - unequal treaties and military plundering at first, then through private intermediaries and local elites, and finally through an Empire-dependent bureaucratic aristocracy.

Coin and ceramic finds will be used as a support when needed, the American Numismatic Society resources playing a critical role.

Permission of the instructor is required.

Scientific Methods in Archaeology
Federico Carò
Federico.Caro@metmuseum.org
ISAW-GA 3012-002
Mondays, 9am-12pm 

This course explores the application of scientific methodologies to the investigation of archaeological objects and works of art, with a specific focus on inorganic materials. This introductory course aims at providing the students with the appropriate knowledge and tools to understand advantages and limitations of traditional and cutting-edge analytical techniques commonly available to archaeologists, and to implement them into successful interdisciplinary archaeological research. Students will be introduced to the science of most common archaeological materials, and will examine how scientific analysis can help characterizing them, disclosing manufacturing processes and techniques, and reconstructing raw material procurement and trade.

The goal of this course is to give each student the knowledge necessary to understand, for each technique, its primary area of application, its strengths and weaknesses, and finally, how to couple complementary scientific techniques to tackle specific archaeological problems.

Upon completion of the course, students should have accomplished a basic knowledge of the techniques presented and will be able to discuss and design an analytical protocol around an archaeological question of their choice. Students will be involved in lectures, classroom discussions, hands-on exercises and analytical projects that will take advantage of the equipment in the department of Scientific Research of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while certain portable analytical instruments will be made available at ISAW.

Permission of the instructor is required.

The Mediterranean and the Near East (ca. 1200-500 BCE)
Antonis Kotsonas & Lorenzo d’Alfonso
ak7509@nyu.edu; lda5@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3013-001
Tuesdays, 9am-12pm

The collapse of the palatial centers in the Eastern Mediterranean ca. 1200 BCE was the catalyst for major socio-economic developments which gradually integrated the Mediterranean and brought extensive parts of this region in close contact with the Near East, especially from the turn of the 1st millennium BCE onward. This seminar explores the development of these phenomena over several centuries, until the major confrontations of ca. 500 BCE, which created previously unattested notions of polarity between east and west which inform cultural and political history to the present day.

The structure of the seminar will revolve around key concepts and themes, including migration and colonization, resilience and revolution, Orientalism, Orientalizing, and Orientalization. Moreover, we will also explore regionally-based case-studies from different areas of the Mediterranean to appreciate the engagement of different communities and social groups with imports and imitations, the role of foreign styles in the formation and the negotiation of social identities, and the appropriation of local styles and symbols of power by newcomers. Emphasis will be given to the range of modes of contact and cultural and economic exchange, and the agency of different populations and social groups: from rulers and warlords, to seafaring coastal populations, to indigenous communities extending from the Levant to Iberia. To this end, we will be examining a notable range of textual evidence (both literary and epigraphic) and different forms of material culture (luxury objects to bulk commodities) from historical, archaeological and art-historical perspectives. The seminar will also involve recurring visits to the Metropolitan Museum and engagement with relevant finds from a wide range of regions and cultures in the Mediterranean and the Near East.

Permission of the instructors is required.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Gender in the Ancient World
Daniela Wolin
daniela.wolin@yale.edu
ISAW-GA 3013-002
Thursdays, 2-5pm 

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying the gendered past by drawing on an array of evidence, such as ancient texts, artistic representations, archaeological remains, and osteological analyses. In order to understand the current state of research on gender, we will first review the impact of feminism on scholarship in the social sciences and humanities, focusing specifically on fields related to antiquity. We will also disentangle the concepts of sex and gender and explore how research on non-binary expressions of gender in past societies have been approached.

This foundation will allow us to delve into various themes in the ancient world that scholars have questioned, deconstructed, and/or reimagined through gender theory, including: masculinity, power, and authority; violence and warfare; division of labor; and sexuality and the body. By investigating a range of contexts within these themes – spanning the ancient New and Old Worlds – we will be able to make larger, cross-cultural comparisons about gender-related issues.

Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to 1) critically question approaches to and assumptions about gender in their regions of study, 2) engage with and integrate social theories on gender into their research, and 3) explore how the longue durée perspective and access to diverse case studies can allow scholars of the ancient world to contribute to contemporary dialogues on gender.

Permission of the instructor is required.

Advanced Reading of Akkadian: Myths in Mesopotamia
Beate Pongratz-Leisten
bpl2@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3018-001
Thursdays, 11am-1pm
Large Conference Room, 6th Floor 

In addition to consolidating the knowledge of Akkadian grammar the Advanced Reading of Akkadian Class is designed to introduce into the Standard Babylonian language typical of literary texts.

In this class we will read a selection of excerpts from Babylonian Myths including Atrahasis, the Gilgamesh Epic, the Anzu Myth and the Creation Epic Enuma Elish. We will analyze and compare former existing translations and establish our own understanding of the texts.

Requirements: At least one year of Akkadian

Grading: Reading of the texts (50%); Final (50%)

Permission of the instructor is required.

Creation, Iconoclasm, & Abduction of the Image: The Pictorial & Textual Discourse
Beate Pongratz-Leisten
bpl2@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3018-002
Thursdays, 9-11am
Large Conference Room, 6th Floor 

In the ancient Near East divinities are not fixed entities, rather their personality is subject to change according to historical and cultural-specific contexts. As epithets, paraphernalia, emblematic animals, symbols, etc. may to some degree fluctuate between members of the pantheon, what are for us, as modern interpreters the possibilities to recognize a particular divinity? How do functions and competences defined in the textual sources relate to the pictorial representation?  Divine agency operates along a spectrum of divine presence which, according to context, might change with regard to the media – statue, symbol, astral body, emblematic animal, etc., while within the particular media itself one might observe some adherence to a traditional repertoire. Combinations of various iconographic elements drawn from different divinities and accumulated onto one can convey syncretism. With regard to the theological profile of a divinity as expressed in image and text context is important. In other words, cultic texts should be related to the cultic image, historical texts to historical reliefs and seals, etc. Texts such as hymns, in particular, may convey a very complex image of a specific divinity that in its various details of appearance and agency cannot be matched by the pictorial representation. What then are the cultural choices of reduction? How do the mental image or visual epiphany of a divinity and the actual statue relate to each other? How do image and text relate to each other in these various cultic, juridical, historical contexts and how are themes such as the creation, destruction, and abduction of the image negotiated in the media of text and image? 

Requirements: The research seminar is open to graduate students, visiting scholars, and faculty. Any primary sources will be provided with translations, knowledge of Sumerian and Akkadian will be advantageous though. Students are required to do short response papers to the readings and a presentation in combination with a written final paper.

Permission of the instructor is required.

Data Modelling and Querying
Sebastian Heath
sh1933@nyu.edu
ISAW-GA 3023-001
Wednesdays, 2-5pm 

This course will survey approaches to creating and querying Ancient World datasets. The semester will begin with relational models that rely on columns and rows queried with SQL. Students will learn how to create databases using this approach and also how to share results on the public internet. We will next look at graph databases that define connections between entities. Our particular focus will be RDF-based triplestores that are accessed with the SPARQL query language. With these fundamental approaches in hand, students will work on topics such as spatial querying and mapping, data visualization, network analysis, and integrating structured data and textual corpora. Practical work will include acquiring, manipulating, and querying existing datasets found on the public internet. We will explore the set of best practices known variously as “Linked Open Data” and the “Semantic Web.” Efficient representation and querying of hierarchical typologies will also be a focus. Students will have ample time to develop their own digital resources as a final project, and this course is likely to be useful to students who have defined a research topic that that they believe can be improved by better use of well-structured digital resources. There are no prerequisites, but also no “holding back” in the expectation that students work to become confident users of the digital tools and methods we explore. It is a requirement that students bring their own notebook computers to class.

Permission of the instructor is required.

Spring 2020: Other Courses

Intro to Ancient Egyptian II
ISAW-GA 1001-001
Niv Allon
Niv.Allon@metmuseum.org
Fridays, 9am-12pm

This course, the second in a two-semester sequence, will introduce students to the Middle Egyptian (Classical) dialect of the ancient Egyptian language. Students will become familiar with the hieroglyphic writing system, as well as key elements of the grammar and vocabulary of Middle Egyptian.

Prerequisite: ISAW-GA 1000-001, “Intro to Ancient Egyptian I” (or equivalent coursework).

Permission of the instructor is required.

Past Seminars