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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joel T Walker
HIST 498
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in History

Each seminar examines a different subject or problem. A quarterly list of the seminars and their instructors is available in the Department of History undergraduate advising office.

Class description

This research seminar examines the intersection between history and archaeology in the study of the late Roman Empire. The seminar centers on the investigation of a single remarkable text, the Life of St. Theodore of Sykeon, the biography of a Christian monk and bishop who lived in central Anatolia (modern Turkey) during the age of the emperors Justinian and Herclius (mid-sixth to mid-seventh centuries AD). Theodore’s biography, composed by one of his disciples in the early seventh century, provides an extraordinarily rich and vivid account of village life in the communities that lay on or near the Roman imperial road connecting Constantinople to Ankara and the eastern frontier. During the first half of the seminar, we will study the Life of St. Theodore in detail, together with the biographies of three other Christian ascetics, to explore how modern historians can use the biographies of Christian saints to reconstruct the social, economic, and religious history of the late Roman Empire. The seminar will also investigate how archaeology and historical geography contribute to our understanding of ancient Anatolia. Students will have the opportunity to work on unpublished material from the instructor’s ongoing archaeological survey in central Turkey.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

At least one previous course in Roman or Byzantine history, art history, or archaeology.

Class assignments and grading

There will be a map quiz and three short writing assignments (2 pages each) during the first half of the course. We will also have an e-mail discussion group based on the weekly readings. During weeks 6-10, students will give an oral presentation based on independent research into some aspect of the history of archaeology related to the career of St. Theodore. At the end of the quarter, a polished written version of this research (10-15 pages) is due.

Required Reading Elizabeth Dawes and Norman Baynes, trans., Three Byzantine Saints: Contemporary Biographies of St. Daniel the Stylite, St. Theodore of Sykeon, and St. John the Almsgiver

Map Quiz 10% Class participation/short papers 30% Oral presentation 15% Research Paper 40%

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 Edmund K. Kamai
Date: 04/10/2000