HS/AE 250 - Mediterranean History and Heritage
This course examines the history nature and complexity of human interactions across the Mediterranean, from the dawn of humanity in Africa until the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The course will also examine the threats to this heritage posed by contemporary issues such as climate change and the growth of tourism. The course is designed around eight separate modules or themes, focusing on key issues that define the historical trajectory, such as human evolution, the Neolithic revolution, the rise of urbanism in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and the classical world represented by ancient Greece and Rome.
The intention of the course is to explore these phenomena, not only as a historical process, but as a way to understand and assess today’s Western culture, economics and politics. Taking advantage of the situation of the Mediterranean region, the course aims to discuss also more intriguing issues in human history, such as what make us human, to figure out the role of women in human history, to explore the origins of urbanism, to discuss the nature of democracy and citizenship, to establish the effects of commercial and colonialist encounters, to explore curiosities of ancient daily life, and to understand why cultural heritage plays an important role in the construction of contemporary society.
As part of this exploration, the course will analyze how this Mediterranean heritage is presented to the general public through cinema, exhibitions, and displays in archaeological museums. The course also includes course‐related trips to museums and archaeological sites in Barcelona so as to provide a first‐hand encounter with monuments and material culture.