This seminar is offered as part of the ongoing Humanities Without Walls collaborative research project Coping with Changing Climates in Early Antiquity: Comparative Approaches Between Empiricism and Theory, developed jointly at the University of Chicago (with Prof. Catherine Kearns, Classics; Prof. Nadine Moeller, Egyptian archaeology; Prof. Hervé Reculeau, Assyriology), the University of Michigan, and Purdue University (Prof. Michele Buzon, anthropology/Nubian archaeology). Using a shared syllabus at the three institutions and joint sessions in the form of webinars, the seminar covers the theoretical framework that allows for an in-depth understanding of the relations between human societies and their environments, and of various social, political, and economic responses to changes in their social, political and environmental climates. Case studies are drawn from the three key geographic areas covered by the project: Egypt and Nubia, the Eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia, and Mesopotamia.
The first part of the seminar addresses the theoretical foundations of interdisciplinary studies at the crossroads of Climate and Environmental Science, the Humanities, and Social Science. The second part of the seminar is devoted to in-depth analyses of the notions of collapse, social devolution, and sustainability, which represent the primary object of discussion in academic literature dealing with climate change and ancient societies.
Assessment will be based on attendance, reading, and engagement and participation in class discussions (both online and on campus), book reviews, and a research project, paper, or poster.
Instructor - Jay Crisostomo