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Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds

 

Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds

 

MALS students take four classes within the program—Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies, two core courses in their chosen track, and the thesis—and choose their remaining electives from among courses offered across the doctoral and certificate programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Graduate Center.

 

MALS Track in the Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds

Introduction

Archaeology, popularized by films such as the Indiana Jones series, is far more than just good Hollywood fodder; rather it is a fundamental way through which scholars can unravel the history, cultures and civilizations of humanity. The aim of the MALS track in the Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds is to explore the material culture of these worlds through an interdisciplinary lens, drawing upon the fields of archaeology, history, art history, classics, anthropology and middle eastern studies. Though disparate in time and space, Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds were artistically, historically and intellectually linked. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, major sites, key monuments, cultural trends and fundamental ideas of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds are discussed in order to better understand how the human past has been written through art, architecture and material culture.

Degree Requirements

This Master's degree program requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:

  • A required introductory course [MALS 70000: Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies, 3 credits].

  • Two required core courses [MALS 74400 and MALS 74500, 3 credits each].

  • 18 credits from courses of the student's choice.

  • A master's thesis [MALS 79000].

Core Courses

The two core courses will provide the student with multiple perspectives and a sound understanding of the history, culture and artistic milieu of the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds in order to prepare her/him to take advanced courses in Classics, History, Art History or Middle Eastern Studies as well as other relevant disciplines.

  • MALS 74400 From Alexander to Muhammad: Introduction to the Cultures of the Ancient Mediterranean

The first core class introduces students to the languages and literature, as well as to the history and culture of the ancient Mediterranean, Late Antique and early Islamic worlds in the form of a descriptive survey.  The course is organized into four units, which focus on Alexander the Great; the Hellenistic Era; the Roman Empire; and Late Antiquity and the rise of Islam respectively. Major works of literature and history are read in translation to give students the background and basic knowledge that they need to go on for their further studies.

  • MALS 74500 Great Digs: important sites of the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic Worlds

The Second core class exposes students to major archaeological sites from the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds. It seeks to broaden students’ awareness of archaeological methods and aims to demonstrate how interconnected the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds were. Two major types of archaeological techniques, excavation and survey, are introduced.The course will then focus on examples from all periods surveyed in the track, including sites such as Classical Athens, Rome, Hadrian’s Villa (Tivoli), Pompeii, Alexandria, Constantinople, Ravenna, Jerusalem, Dura Europos, and Samarra. These examples and others will serve as case studies that demonstrate how specific sites shaped our knowledge of human history.

Together these two courses are intended to expose students to the major historical events, cultural trends, intellectual debates, archaeological techniques and archaeological sites. These courses will also prepare the students to focus on their own interests and deepen their knowledge for preparation of their MA thesis or project.

Elective Courses

Electives can be chosen among courses offered across most of the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at the Graduate Center.
 
For related coursework in Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds, students may look to offerings in the Master’s program in Middle Eastern Studies and the doctoral programs in Anthropology, Art History, Classics, and History.

Faculty

Listen to Dr. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis talk about artifacts in the newly reopened Islamic Galleries at MET for Smarthistory.org, part of the Khan Academy: Two Royal Figures (Saljuq Period) and Ilkhanid Mihrab

Many of CUNY’s faculty are actively involved in archaeological research, and visits to New York’s museums play a vital role in the MALS archaeology track.
 


Questions about the MALS track in The Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds may be directed to liberalstudies@gc.cuny.edu.