Joel T Walker
Seminar on selected topics in general history, with special emphasis on preparation for field examinations. Topics vary according to interests of students and instructor.
This seminar offers a graduate level introduction to the history of the Mongol empires between ca. 1200-ca. 1400 C.E. Issues examined in the course include: the culture and ecology of the principal tribal federations of Mongolia (Keraits, Naiman, Tatars, et al.); the career of Genghis Khan and the Secret History of the Mongols; Mongol warfare and diplomacy; the Mongol court at Karakorum and the role of its royal women; European and Islamic perceptions of the Mongols; the Mongol invasions of Central Asia, the Middle East, and eastern Europe; Syrian and Armenian Christian relations with the Mongols; the Mongol legacy in Russia; Khubilai Khan and the foundation of the Yuan dynasty in China; papal relations with the Mongols and the legend of Prester John; and warfare and diplomatic relations between the Il-Khanids and the Mamluke caliphs of Egypt.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
A solid background in one or more areas of "medieval" Eurasian history and the ability to translate primary documents in at least one of the relevant languages (Arabic, Chinese, Latin, etc.). Students new to Mongol history should read jack Weatherford's Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World for orientation. A reading knowledge of one or more European languages (especially French or German) is also desirable.
Class assignments and grading
Regular participation in seminar discussion (including mini-presentations); one class presentation (ca. 30 minutes), one short paper (4-5 pages), and one translation and commentary on a primary text related to the Mongols.
For copies of the syllabus, please contact either instructor. There is assigned reading for the first meeting of the seminar.