MIDEAST 291 - Humanities Topics in Middle East Studies
Fall 2020, Section 002 - Collapse! Refugees, Climate Change and the Fall of Bronze Age Civilization
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Middle East Studies (MIDEAST)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:


International markets, refugees, climate change—these may feel like uniquely modern problems, but they are not. The Bronze Age (3200–1200 BC) was an era of globalization and international trade in the Middle East. During this period, monarchs such as Hammurabi of Babylon built empires with immense armies, diplomats, and scribes at their disposal. In an unprecedented economic boom, merchant ships imported luxury goods from across the Mediterranean to supply the palace of King Tut. Then, it all fell apart. Dozens of cities were burned to the ground or abandoned, trade networks collapsed, and empires fell.

What went wrong? This course will examine the complex network of Bronze Age civilization and the factors that contributed to its demise, including climate change, natural disasters, and an unmanaged refugee crisis. We will also explore the significance of these findings for crafting solutions to today’s challenges.

Course Requirements:

Evaluation will be based on in-class participation (self-graded weekly), short reflection papers, exams, and a final presentation (developed in groups).

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly. As a DC (Distance due to COVID) course, all aspects of this course will be fully compatible with remote online learning. Students will need to be available for virtual class meetings at their scheduled time.


MIDEAST 291 - Humanities Topics in Middle East Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Note: Section 001, Medieval Egypt. Instruction is remote and will be taught synchronously. Enrolled students are expected to be available remotely during scheduled class times.
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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