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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Florian Schwarz
HIST 388
Seattle Campus

Colloquium: Introduction to History

Introduction to the discipline of history for new or prospective majors. Emphasizes the basic skills of reading, analysis, and communication (both verbal and written) that are central to the historian's craft. Each seminar discusses a different subject or problem.

Class description

Saladin: History and Myth from the 12th to the 23rd century

This junior undergraduate seminar introduces students to Saladin, the 12th-century ruler of Egypt and Syria, best-known for his re-conquest of Jerusalem from the Crusaders and for being the main Muslim opponent of Richard Lionheart, king of England, during the Third Crusade. Already among his Muslim and Christian contemporaries legends began to evolve around Saladin. In this seminar, we will read modern English translations of original Arabic, Latin and Old French primary sources from the time of the Crusades in order to gain a picture of the historical Saladin. We will then follow the mythmaking process from the Middle Ages to the 21st (or even the 23rd century: Star Trek) century that created representations of Saladin as contradictory as the blood-thirsty archenemy of Christianity or a model of religious tolerance, the chivalrous opponent of Richard Lionheart or an anti-imperialist freedom fighter. The main learning goal of this seminar is three-fold: to learn how to use a variety of primary sources, from medieval chronicles to movies, in historical research; to learn about an important period of medieval Middle Eastern history and how it ties into World history; and to gain an understanding of the complicated relationship between history and legend and between source and interpretation.

Student learning goals

to learn how to use a variety of primary sources, from medieval chronicles to movies, in historical research

to learn about an important period of medieval Middle Eastern history and how it ties into World history

to gain an understanding of the complicated relationship between history and legend

to gain an understanding of the complicated relationship between history and legend and between source and interpretation

to effectively communicate findings of research based on primary sources in a written essay.

General method of instruction

Classroom discussion of modern English translations of medieval primary sources and modern media.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Class assignments will be outlined in the syllabus.

Grading will be outlined in the syllabus.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Florian Schwarz
Date: 10/16/2008