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 Lecture:

  • Why and how did the Mongols come to create an empire which spanned most of the Eurasian continent? What made the Mongols militarily successful?
  • How was Mongol diplomacy conducted?
  • Why did the Mongol empire eventually decline and fall?
  • “Nomadic political theory“: tactics in war. principles of social organization, the role of paths and nodes.

Required readings:

  • Erik Ringmar,”The Mongol Khanates,” History of International Relations (Cambridge: Open Books Publisher, forthcoming)
  • Starr, S. Frederick. “The Mongol Century.” In Lost Enlightenment : Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane, 436–37. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.
  • Schurmann, H. F. “Mongolian ​Tributary Practices of the Thirteenth Century.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 19, no. 3/4 (December 1956): 304-89.

Presentations:

​Additional resources:

Lecture:

  •  Who were the Mughals?  Why and how did they manage to conquer the Indian subcontinent?
  • Prior to the Mughals, how were political relations organized on the subcontinent?
  • How should we explain the Indianization of Southeast Asia?

Readings:

Presentations:

  • Who was Tamerlane? What do you know about his successors?
  • Who built the Taj Mahal and why?​ 
  • What was going on at Angkor Wat?
  • Why is Hinduism the dominant religion in Bali?  How is Hinduism reflected in Balinese customs and traditions?

​Additional material:

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Lecture:

  • Historical overview of Muslim expansion.
  • The Muslim caliphates
  • The Ottomans from the fall of Constantinople to the “sick man of Europe.”
  • What impact did the Arabs have on Spain and the rest of Europe?
  • How were relations organized between various religious groups?
  • What role did Berber tribes play?

Readings:

Presentations:

  • Provide a review of the TV series “Omar.” 
  • How did the Vikings bury their dead and what did Ibn Fadlan make of it?
  • Who was Mosheh ben Maimon?  What happened to the Sephardi Jews of Spain?

Additional resources:

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Lecture:

  • Historical overview of the Sinocentric international system.
  • China’s relations with neighbors in Central Asia and their relations with foreign visitors from overseas.
  • The rules and regulations of the tribute system.
  • Audiences at the imperial court.

Required readings:

Presentations:

  • What did the Chinese make of the giraffe that appeared at imperial court in Beijing in 1414? How did their reaction differ from those of the Florentines and the French? Read this. Presentation by Yong Li Chuah.
  • What is “the Great Wall of China” and how has it been used? Read this​.  Presentation by Stina Hinderson.
  • Give an account of the events that transpired during George Macartney’s audience before the emperor of China in 1793.Read this​. Presentation by Kristoffer Heyl

Additional resources: