Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds
Archaeology, popularized by films such as the Indiana Jones series, is far more than just good Hollywood fodder; rather it is a fundamental way through which scholars can unravel the history, cultures and civilizations of humanity. The aim of the MALS concentration in the Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds is to explore the material culture of these worlds through an interdisciplinary lens, drawing upon the fields of archaeology, history, art history, classics, anthropology and middle eastern studies. Though disparate in time and space, Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds were artistically, historically and intellectually linked. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, major sites, key monuments, cultural trends and fundamental ideas of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds are discussed in order to better understand how the human past has been written through art, architecture and material culture.
MALS students take four classes within the program — Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies, two core courses in their chosen concentration, and the thesis/capstone project — and choose their remaining electives from among courses offered across the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.
This master's degree program requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:
- A required introductory course [MALS 70000: Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies] (3 credits).
- Two required core courses [MALS 74400 and MALS 74500, 3 credits each].
- 18 credits from courses of the student's choice that are relevant to the student’s concentration or studies
- A master's thesis/capstone project [MALS 79000] (3 credits).
The two core courses will provide the student with multiple perspectives and a sound understanding of the history, culture and artistic milieu of the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds in order to prepare her/him to take advanced courses in Classics, History, Art History or Middle Eastern Studies as well as other relevant disciplines.
MALS 74400 Special Topics in the Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds
The course will offer students in-depth and critical knowledge of specific topics related to the archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic Worlds. Some of the topics may include: cultural heritage, a focused seminar on specific chronological periods or regions—i.e., Islamic Art and Architecture; the archaeology of the Greco-Roman Near East; Late Antique and Early Islamic Egypt; Pompeii and Ostia; the ancient city; history of collecting.
MALS 74500 Great Digs: important sites of the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic Worlds
The Second core class exposes students to major archaeological sites from the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds. It seeks to broaden students’ awareness of archaeological methods and aims to demonstrate how interconnected the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds were. Two major types of archaeological techniques, excavation and survey, are introduced.The course will then focus on examples from all periods surveyed in the concentration, including sites such as Classical Athens, Rome, Hadrian’s Villa (Tivoli), Pompeii, Alexandria, Constantinople, Ravenna, Jerusalem, Dura Europos, and Samarra. These examples and others will serve as case studies that demonstrate how specific sites shaped our knowledge of human history.
Together these two courses are intended to expose students to the major historical events, cultural trends, intellectual debates, archaeological techniques and archaeological sites. These courses will also prepare the students to focus on their own interests and deepen their knowledge for preparation of their MA thesis/capstone project.
Electives can be chosen among courses offered across most of the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.
For related coursework in Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds, students may look to offerings in the Master’s program in Middle Eastern Studies and the doctoral programs in Anthropology, Art History, Classics, and History.
MALS faculty associated with this concentration:
Listen to Dr. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis talk about artifacts in the newly reopened Islamic Galleries at MET for Smarthistory.org, part of the Khan Academy: Two Royal Figures (Saljuq Period) and Ilkhanid Mihrab
Many of CUNY’s faculty are actively involved in archaeological research, and visits to New York’s museums play a vital role in the MALS archaeology concentration.
Visit the GC Mina Rees Library's Liberal Studies Research Guide.
Students' contact for Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds research is reference librarian Michael Handis.