The following are the available courses led by Professor Wilson at Lehman College, offered through the Department of History. Links in silver indicate the course web page has not yet been set up for that semester.
HIA 306/706 A survey of religious beliefs and practices of the Mesopotamian and Mediterranean worlds, with attention to social and cultural impact.
About the course: 3 hours, 3 credits. Writing Intensive. Religion is humanity’s original and most durable method of making sense of the chaos and changeability of the forces of the natural world, with immense influence on every aspect of history and culture. In this course, we will explore religious customs of the ancient Mesopotamian cultures; Mycenaean, Minoan and Classical Greek myth and ritual; Hellenistic religions and mystery religious cults; private household worship in the Roman Republic; and public religious faith in the Roman Empire.
HIA 320/720 The unfolding and culmination of civilization in Greece, through key transformations of Greek culture and city-states from the Bronze Age up through the hellenization of the east.
About the course: 3 hours, 3 credits. Writing Intensive, research intensive. More than any other ancient culture, the world of Hellas—the Greek-speaking lands and islands of the Aegean Sea and beyond—attempted to improve and perfect society and civilization, to such an extent that Hellas became a crucible for the fundamental ideas of the “western” world, ideas that formed the bedrock for nations disseminated far and wide across continents and oceans. What made the Greek ideas about how humans relate to the world and each other so elemental? How did the peoples of Hellas evolve their unique perspective?
HIA 321/721 The foundation and development of the Roman state, including the rise and decline of the Republic and Empire, with emphasis on its political, economic, social, and cultural achievements.
About the course: 3 hours, 3 credits. Writing Intensive, research intensive. The colossal achievement of the Romans—a single city indelibly suffusing its unique sensibility through the entire ancient Mediterranean world—is only part of the Roman story. The people of Rome gained economic, political, military, and cultural dominance over the ancient West and laid the foundations for the medieval and modern worlds through a fascinating mixture of synthesis and adaptation, on the one hand, and unshakable faith in the Roman identity, on the other. How the Romans acquired an empire, and how that empire constantly reshaped Roman society, tells us not only about the Western civilization that descended from them, but about the dynamics of society, empire, and power.
HIA 311/750 Examination of the image, role and status of women in both Ancient Greek and Roman society as seen from the important literary works of antiquity.
About the course: 3 hours, 3 credits. Writing Intensive. The written evidence from the ancient world is dominated by the actions and perspectives of men, who both ruled public life and created most of the cultural expression that has endured. Increasingly over the past several decades historians have sought to overcome this evidentiary bias by striving the represent women’s perspectives both in the narratives of individuals cultures and times and through the specific exploration of the voices, deeds, and representations of women of antiquity, as a pathway to understanding both the meaning of womanhood in any given society and the mores of the cultures they helped bring about and shape for posterity.
HIS 246 A survey of the Mediterranean world, tracing the development of civilization from Mesopotamia and Egypt to ancient Greek City-States and the fall of Rome.
About the course: 3 hours, 3 credits. Our entire lives are conditioned by concepts like civilization and society, yet we seldom stop to think about how they shape our behaviors and expectations. By traveling back to the very emergence of civilization, we can experience both the revolution in how humans related to each other and the proliferation of new kinds of societies—each with their own distinct ideas about communities and individuals, communication, trade, protection, gender, mortality, and the strange, unbounded realms of the gods. All of this forms not just the background but the substance of the modern world: how we think, and what others think of us. The everyday hubbub of ancient worlds vibrates in the bones of our own societies.