Global Mediterranean Culture (391 – 1492)

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The focus of this course will be the Mediterranean Sea, between the late antique and modern period (ca. 391 and 1492), in a number of its distinctive manifestations, political, religious, social, cultural, and economic. Once upon a time, the Mediterranean Sea was possessively defined as the mare nostrum (our sea), and claimed by the Roman Empire or some other superpower. As a result, the Mediterranean, since then, has been viewed almost exclusively with a Euro centricity, founded on colonialism and exploitation.

Current historiography, the social sciences, has broken away from that single local, and ultimately incomplete narrative for the Mediterranean. The primary goal for this course is to provide a “wider and more humane history” that is more inclusive of “invisible people and cultures” and provides alternate narratives to the ones currently in the history books.  The conception of the ‘Great Sea’ as a boundary-less space allows us to address the many lacunae in its history that are now being acknowledged.

2 credits

Course Code: HTA 322

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.