HDS 1834 – Archaeology and History of Israel/Palestine from the Second Temple to the Early Islamic Period

HDS 1834 – Archaeology and History of Israel/Palestine from the Second Temple to the Early Islamic Period

Semester: Spring
Offered: 2022
Instructor: Giovanni Bazzana
Meeting Time: Th 3:00pm-5:00pm

The course will focus on the history of Israel/Palestine in the span of time of almost a millennium that witnessed the emergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Specific attention will be devoted to the changing landscape of the region and, by way of case studies, to archaeological excavations as evidence for cultural, religious, and socio-economic trajectories. The study of history and archaeology will be connected with the current religious and political situation of the region in order to highlight the ways in which the memory of the past shapes the present and is in turn shaped by present ideological concerns.

Participation in the course includes participation to a three-weeks trip to Israel/Palestine that will take place in May before graduation and will include a week of excavation on the Magdala site.

As noted above, the course includes travel to Israel/Palestine to participate in an archaeological excavation in Magdala/Migdal (a dirty, sweaty, and tiring adventure!) and visits to other cities and sites (for details, see the syllabus). This will be of course subject to the ease of COVID restrictions on Harvard-related travel by then and to any travel requirements imposed by the states of Israel and Palestine.

The experiential component of the course will take place after the end of the semester and includes travel to Israel/Palestine from May 3-21. Please note that the field study dimension of the course meets outside of standard spring term dates and student are encouraged to make plans with other instructors for final papers and exams well in advance.

Travel stipends will be offered by HDS. Thus, enrollment in the course is in principle restricted to HDS students and is capped at 10 by application. Applications should be mailed at gbazzana@hds.harvard.edu and should include two paragraphs introducing the applicant and detailing the background for participation in the course (for instance, but not exclusively, historical research, religious interest, the current political situation of the region and its connection to the study and preservation of antiquities). Preference will be given to applicants who never had the opportunity to travel to the region before.

For more details please visit the Harvard Course Catalog.