Undergraduate Course: Ancient Pasts, Modern Politics (CACA10047)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Why would Habib Bourguiba, the first President of an independent Tunisia, build the presidential palace on the site of the city of Carthage? What motivated the Italian fascist Benito Mussolini to reconstruct the Ara Pacis, an imperial Roman altar of peace? This course explores how the history and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world continues to play a central role in the modern politics of Europe and the Middle East.
Less than five years after Tunisia achieved independence from France, construction began on the site of a new presidential palace. The country's first president, Habib Bourguiba, chose a location within the site of ancient Carthage for this new residential complex. Far from being forgotten, the history of the antique city was essential to the ambitions of a modern Tunisia. This is but a single example of how individual leaders and state-level actors have relied on the ancient Mediterranean throughout the 20th and 21st centuries to support their own fluctuating agendas. Why did the past continue to hold such sway over contemporary political concerns? Interrogating which periods are invoked - and who controls access to these narratives - sheds light on how these ancient pasts continue to shape modern politics.
This course explores how the history and archaeology of the ancient world has played a central role in the creation of national identities and the justification of imperial agendas in Europe, the Middle East, and beyond. Weekly topics range from the antiquarianism of the Grand Tour, to the appropriation of Greek and Roman materials by the fascist states of the mid-20th century, to the ongoing battles over heritage and history in the Middle East and North Africa after the Arab Spring. Seminar discussions and assessment strategies focus on developing skills in both academic and non-academic communication. Overall, the course provides students with an overview of the intersections between the ancient Mediterranean and modern nationalism and a conceptual framework to apply their knowledge of the past to the concerns of the contemporary present.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, History or Archaeology (at least 1 of which should be in Classical Art and Archaeology or Ancient History) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
1,500 word non-academic writing exercise (35%),
Online discussion contributions (15%) and
3000-word essay (50%)
||Students will receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and seminar discussion as required, an ability to critically engage with dominant theories of identity and nationalism and to apply those theories to ancient Mediterranean materials;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and seminar discussion as required, an ability to understand and evaluate a variety of historical and archaeological source material in relation to wider research themes;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and seminar discussion as required, improved research skills in formulating a historical argument, along with skills in academic prose, citation, and the compilation of a bibliography;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, skills in written dissemination of research, in particular targeting non-academic audiences and non-traditional scholarly formats.
|Abu El-Haj, N. 2001. Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.|
Chapoutot, J. 2017. Greeks, Romans, Germans: How the Nazis Usurped Europe's Classical Past. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Díaz-Andreu García, M. 2007. A World History of Nineteenth-Century Archaeology: Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Past. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Díaz-Andreu García, M. and T. Champion (eds) 1996. Nationalism and Archaeology in Europe. London: UCL Press.
Habu, J., Fawcett, C. and J.M. Matsunaga (eds) 2008. Evaluating Multiple Narratives: Beyond Nationalist, Colonialist, Imperialist Archaeologies. New York: Springer.
Hamilakis, Y. 2007. The Nation and its Ruins: Antiquity, Archaeology, and National Imagination in Greece. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hanink, J. 2017. The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Kane, S. (ed) 2003. The Politics of Archaeology and Identity in a Global Context. Boston: Archaeological Institute of America.
Mattingly, D.J. 2011. Imperialism, Power, and Identity: Experiencing the Roman Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Quinn, J. 2018. In Search of the Phoenicians. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Andrew Dufton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4384
|Course secretary||Miss Sara Dennison
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501