Current Courses

Global Premodern Studies (GPS) courses are graduate-level seminars that explore topics in global premodern studies. The consortium provides funding for these courses to bring in visiting scholars to contribute new perspectives and ideas to the class.


Fall 2017 GPS Courses

Empire and Nations in the Middle East
(HIST 5547)
Professor Giancarlo Casale

This course explores the complex historical transition from the early modern to the modern period in the Middle East, Balkans and wider eastern Mediterranean. Because of the great diversity of this region's experience with direct European imperialism, ranging from prolonged (Algeria, Lebanon) to non-existent (Turkey, Balkans); as well as the enduring importance of imperial rule by a non-Western state (the Ottoman Empire), it provides a perfect testing ground for various theories of modernity, nation, and empire. Themes to be addressed within this general framework include race and ethnicity, sectarianism, religion and politics, and political economy.


Global Colonial Studies in the Hispanic World: Issues, Theories and Methodologies
(SPPT 5560)
Professor Raul Marrero-Fente

This seminar aims to provide a new global interpretation of Spanish colonialism during the 16th century. The seminar, will examine the legacies of Spanish colonialism and the role played by imperialist discourse as producer of the epistemic colonial difference. Furthermore, this course not only identifies the global nature of Spanish colonialism, but also analyses the indigenous accounts of resistance to the conquest and colonization.


The Rise of the Public Sphere: Criticism and Taste
(EMS 8250/ENGL 8140)
Professor Amit Yahav

Joseph Addison famously declared “I have brought philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and in coffee houses” (Spectator 10); with this statement he signals a discourse on ethics and aesthetics located in a commercial arena whose authority rests in publicness and wide participation. This association of judgment with a public sphere has important ramifications for aesthetic theory, which we will explore throughout the semester: the shift in focus to the receiving end of art, an examination of the normativity of taste, a privileging of contemporary writings, and a commitment to the relation between, on the one hand, cultural production and consumption and, on the other, specific (often national) communities. Readings will include works by a range of eighteenth-century writers – from Addison, through Diderot, to Kant – as well as twentieth-century theoretical and scholarly studies such as Habermas, Luhmann, and Bourdieu.


Age of Empire: The Mughals, Safavids, and Ottomans
(ARTH 5781)
Professor Sinem Casale

This course offers a wide-ranging introduction to visual culture under the three Muslim superpowers of the early modern period: the Mediterranean-based Ottomans, the Safavids of Iran, and the Mughals of India. While each of these empires originated from a common Timurid heritage, each of them developed a distinctive and vibrant artistic idiom. With emphasis placed upon key monuments and objects, we will examine an array of artistic media, ranging from manuscript illumination and calligraphy to ceramics, textiles, metalwork, glasswork and jewelry. Each dynasty's religious orientation and political-economic structure will be considered as we study the creation of cities, architecture, and art objects from a comparative perspective. A major goal will be to understand the nature of these states and their artistic production on a comparative basis. Topics include the formation of imperial ideology and its visual articulation; palaces and court culture; artistic organization, authorship, and agency; patronage, gender, piety, as well as cross-cultural interaction.