Encounters: A Global History of Cultural Interactions, 500 BCE—1700 CE.

This first year course provides an introduction to global history from the Hellenic period to the eighteenth century. Through readings in primary and secondary sources on the theme of cultural encounters, it offers an overview of the major processes that have linked societies to each other and have shaped the world.

The Early Modern Mediterranean, 1500-1800.

This second year course explores the interplay of culture, religion, politics and commerce in the Mediterranean region from 1500 to 1800. Through travel narratives, autobiographical texts, and visual materials the course traces how men and women on the Mediterranean’s European, Asian, and African shores experienced their changing world.

Old Worlds? Strangers and Foreigners in the Mediterranean, 1200-1700.

This third year course explores how medieval and early modern societies encountered foreigners and accounted for foreignness, as well as for religious, linguistic, and cultural difference more broadly. Topics include: monsters, relics, pilgrimage, the rise of the university, merchant companies, mercenaries, piracy, captivity and slavery, tourism, and the birth of resident embassies.

Venice and its Empire, 800-1800.

This third year course explores the history of Venice and its empire in the Mediterranean from its humble beginnings as a fishermen’s colony in the ninth century CE to its occupation by Napoleon in 1797. The primary focus is Venice (including its colonies in northern Italy, the Adriatic, and the Aegean) and, to a lesser extent, its major political rival and economic ally, the Ottoman Empire.

Missionaries and Converts in the Early Modern World.

This fourth year seminar explores how early modern people thought about and practiced community, belief, and ritual, and situates these thoughts and practices within the context of early imperialism and colonialism. The seminar looks at religious conversion in relation to other social processes, including empire-building, and examines whether the “globalization of Christianity” is a useful paradigm through which to understand the experiences of missionaries and converts in different parts of the world in the period 1500-1800.

Between Two Worlds? Translators and Interpreters in History.

This fourth year seminar explores the social history of translators, interpreters, and the texts they produce. Through several case studies from Ireland and Istanbul to Québec, Mexico City, and Goa, the course considers how translators shaped public understandings of “self” and “other,” “civilization” and “barbarity” in the wake of European colonization.

Travelling and Travel-Writing in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean.

This fourth year seminar explores the development of travel and travel narratives before 1800, and their relationship to European trade and colonisation in the Mediterranean and beyond. Topics include: Prester John and the allure of the East, pilgrimage and crusading, the histories of geography, cartography, and ethnography.

Histories in/of the Mediterranean: From Braudel to Post-Colonialism.

This graduate seminar addresses the emergence and recent transformation of the early modern Mediterranean as an historical object. It offers an overview of the historiography of the early modern Mediterranean from Braudel to his most recent critics, and situates this historiography within the broader field of contemporary scholarship and politics. In particular, the seminar explores the methodological and epistemological implications of post-colonial critiques of Orientalism and Occidentalism on the one hand, and of the ongoing conversations between historians and anthropologists of the Mediterranean on the other.

Language, Power, and Translation in the Early Modern World

(Co-taught with Paul Cohen).This graduate seminar introduces students to the emerging field of historical translation studies, and surveys the historiography on translators and interpreters as significant social actors in the formation of early modern and modern empires and states. Topics include medieval and early modern theories and practices of translation, language ideologies, the roles of interpreters in missionary and colonial contexts, and translation as a dimension of state-formation and imperial governance. Our sample of case studies will be broad, ranging from the French and Spanish Atlantic empires to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.

NB: Past syllabuses are offered for information only, and do not necessarily reflect future courses’ structure, readings, or assignments.