The Cultural Landscapes of the Black Sea
from Homer to the Present
Instructor: Peri Johnson
Throughout the centuries, the Black Sea has been the meeting place where peoples of the Central Asian steppe, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Anatolian Peninsula have mingled and forged new identities. This course considers how concepts of identity construction and environmental history have influenced our understanding of this cultural landscape, drawing on primary literary and archaeological evidence as well as critical studies. Topics include Greek colonization, the encounter of newcomers with indigenous peoples, the role of religion in cultural change, human relationships with the marine environment, and the legacy of nationalist and Soviet scholarship. The course will introduce the cultures of the Greeks (from Homer to the nineteenth century); the Scythians, with their rich artifacts; the Khazar Jews of medieval Crimea; and the Turkmen transhumants of the Anatolian Plateau. Introductory lectures and the discussion of assigned readings will prepare students to carry out directed research projects.
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Last update: October 19, 2003
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