MIDEAST 391 - Humanities Topics in Middle East Studies
Fall 2020, Section 001 - Visual Culture of the Ancient Middle East
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: Middle East Studies (MIDEAST)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
At least one previous course in Middle East studies. Students should not elect the same topic twice.
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:


The cultures of the ancient Middle East are well known for their monumental art—the ziggurats of the Sumerians, the palace reliefs of the Assyrian and Persian kings, and the ceremonial gateway into the city of Babylon. A wealth of elite art, from court jewelry to elaborately carved official seals, attest to the wealth of these ancient cultures and to the skill of their artisans. At the same time, there is abundant evidence of the lives of the less wealthy, from the forms of their houses to the shapes of their ceramics and representations in terracotta figurines and plaques.

This course surveys visual cultures of the ancient Middle East from the earliest representational art of the early Neolithic to the Persian empire, from the monumental and elite to the productions of daily life. It presents early approaches to some fundamental questions of representation—the relationship between image and subject, how to represent space and landscape, and ways of conveying narrative. It shows how art increasingly became a social and ideological technology, as it was also shaped by developments in technologies of ceramic manufacture, metalworking, and glass-making.

Course Requirements:

Course requirements will include a midterm, a final, and a research paper and may also include a short in-class presentation and/or response paper.

Intended Audience:

This course may be of particular interest to upper level undergraduates in Middle East Studies, history of art, anthropology, history, classics, and museum studies.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute lectures (incorporating discussion) weekly. Section 001 requires students to meet in person on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30-4:00pm. If you require 100% online participation, please register for section 002.


MIDEAST 391 - Humanities Topics in Middle East Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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