The goal of this class is to introduce students to the history of the Jewish communities of the Medieval Muslim Mediterranean through the life and works of one of Judaism's greatest thinkers, Moses Maimonides (1138-1204). The biography of this sage, and his migration from Córdoba to Cairo, will be used as an axis for the study of Jewish history in the Muslim Mediterranean between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Students will be introduced to the history of Jews under Islamic rule, their legal status and social lives; the history of Jews in the "Golden Age" of Muslim Spain; the Jewish communities of Egypt; and a variety of contemporary sources for the reconstruction of these histories, from Jewish documents in the Geniza (a repository of discarded writings from the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo) to poetry, personal letters, and Muslim writings. The biography of Maimonides will be at the center of this class, and thus, we will be studying his life and works in their Muslim and Jewish historical contexts.
This course surveys travel and pilgrimage from antiquity to the Age of Exploration. Travelers such as (the fictional) Odysseus and their voyages around the world have been captivating the minds of human beings since ancient times. Their records are a popular source of entertainment as well as a source of knowledge regarding faraway countries, the encounter with different cultures and civilizations—and the "Other" more broadly—and monstrous and fabulous beings. We will explore the writings of and about merchants, diplomats, pilgrims, scientists and artists across time, space, and religious tradition, with examples including Homer's Odyssey, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Marco Polo, Benjamin of Tudela, and Ibn Battuta. On some occasions, we will look into other materials, such as visual depictions of travel, maps, and archaeological evidence for travel and pilgrimage.
Students enrolled in this course will explore performance from a psychological perspective. Performances will be applied broadly to include, not just athletic performance, but also the performing arts, expressive arts (creative writing, poetry, visual arts), academics, business, and leadership. Additionally, we will delve into common elements across these domains such as motivation (short and long term), the power of mission, burnout, sleep, performance nutrition, team dynamics, personality, and “game day” strategies. The course
serves as an introduction to the fundamental foundations of performance psychology theory and practice with a heavy focus on application. (Prerequisite PSY 101 or instructor permission).