This course is a capstone seminar in the History Program. In a traditional seminar setting, History majors will discuss advanced readings and issues concerning warfare and diplomacy in the ancient Near East and Egypt from the rise of civilization through the Persian Empire, 5500 BC to 332 BC. (including Egypt, Canaan, Syria, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Persia). These readings will include both primary and secondary sources of historical significance.
Each student is required to write a research paper (25 pages long) on a viable topic related to war and/or diplomacy in ancient Egypt and/or Western Asia. The student will formulate a specific topic in agreement with the professor from a range of themes and issues provided by the professor, or else the student might suggest a theme of his/her own. The student will proceed in a methodical manner to research and write the paper over the length of the term, beginning with general readings, formulation of the topic, composing an annotated bibliography, outlining the paper, authoring first and second drafts, and completing the final draft. In the second-draft stage, the student will present a formal oral report to the seminar on issues and findings for group discussion. At all points of the process, the student will remain in close consultation with the professor.
The seminar is not a lecture course, and, in general, the professor will limit his presentations of elementary historical information. However, students will be given the opportunity to refresh themselves in the basic history of ancient Egypt and the Near East and to discuss historical and historiographical issues in a roundtable setting. It is assumed that students have some prior academic exposure to the ancient Near East and its bibliography, and they have written papers on the subject before. Hence, the professor will serve as a guide in the research and writing process, but he will not hold the students' hands through the process, nor will he teach elementary Near Eastern bibliography. However, the course does include access to on-line resources and archives for finding primary and secondary sources on the topics.