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Course Details

Fall 2017-2018
* NES 251 / HIS 251 / JDS 251 (HA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

The World of the Cairo Geniza

Marina Rustow

The importance of the Cairo Geniza, a cache of texts discovered in the attic of a medieval Egyptian synagogue, goes beyond Jewish history, crossing the breadth of the medieval world and offering an intimate view of commerce, slavery, heresy and seafaring; of what people wore, ate, rode, believed and did all day; of who married whom and why; of a Shi'ite state ruling over Sunnis, Christians and Jews; and of a society that remains the best documented of its period. Students in the course will read unpublished primary sources to gain an insider's glimpse of what we can know and can't know in premodern history.

Sample reading list:
Bloom, Jonathan, Paper before Print
Patricia Crone, Pre-industrial Societies: Anatomy of the Pre-modern World
S. D. Goitein, Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders
Amitav Ghosh, In an Antique Land
Jessica Goldberg, Trade and Institutions in the Medieval Mediterranean
Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole, Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza

Reading/Writing assignments:
50 to 100 pages of reading per week. Brief research assignments; final term paper. Reading includes a mix of primary and secondary sources.

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Papers - 30%
Oral Presentation(s) - 10%
Class/Precept Participation - 10%
Other (See Instructor) - 20%

Other information:
Other 20% = Research assignments such as building databases of documents or GIS problem sets

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
22740 S01 1:30 pm - 2:50 pm M W   McCosh Hall   62   Enrolled:9 Limit:30