Spring 2024

The Global Medieval World

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-116  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-116  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-116  |  History, as HIST-116


Mekhola S. Gomes (Section 01)
Yael R. Rice (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 116 [TC/TE/TR/TS/C/P], ARHA 116, ARCH 116, ASLC 116.) This course offers an introduction to the global medieval world through the study of visual culture, texts, architecture, and the larger built environment. The medieval period (500–1500 CE) is often misunderstood as a time of cultural, economic, and intellectual decline. In this course, we challenge this idea to emphasize the dynamic change, complexity, diversity, and connectivity that characterized the medieval world. This span of time saw intensified commerce and movement of people and objects, with China, Japan, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Central and Western Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Mediterranean basin linked by many overland and sea routes. We will explore this rich, complicated global history through a range of sources such as granite inscriptions, indigo-dyed cotton textiles, palm-leaf manuscripts, temples, and cities. We will consider the role that linguistic and material translation played in this period of heightened mobility, and attend to the porousness of boundaries–cultural, political, and religious–that may today seem far more defined. Finally, this course will challenge Eurocentric frameworks that assume medieval history to be synonymous with Western European history. Two meetings per week.

Spring semester. Professors Rice and Gomes.

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Close analysis of historical evidence, which may include written documents, images, music, films, or statistics from the historical period under study. Exploration of scholarly, methodological, and theoretical debates about historical topics. Extensive reading, varying forms of written work, and intensive in-class discussions.

ARCH 116 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM FAYE 115
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM FAYE 115