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Central Eurasian Studies >> Courses >> Course List
The Mongol Century
CEUS-R 393/593
Christopher Atwood

This course carries CASE S&H & CASE GCC designations

This course deals with the empire built by the Mongols in the 13th century—the largest land empire in the world. Most readings will be from translated primary sources of the 13th and 14th centuries, written by the Mongols themselves and also by Persians, Chinese, Eastern Christians, Europeans, and other peoples that fought, surrendered to, or traded with the Mongol conquerors. The course will explore the Mongols, the most spectacular example of the nomadic conquerors who played such a large role in all Eurasian history, and survey how their empire affected themselves and the peoples they conquered. By using primary sources, the course will also provide a survey of civilizations in Eurasia in the 13th and 14th centuries, and give a hands-on example of how historians build historical knowledge from varied sources. Summary articles from my Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire will provide orientation and context.

Exams and Course Requirements: There will be the following graded assignments: two map quizzes, a chronology quiz, a genealogy quiz, and four 5-page essays. There will also be a weekly one-two page review of the reading which be graded on a pass-fail basis. The reading reports and class attendance will be 20%; the four quizzes, 5% each; and the four essays 15% each. There are no term papers or midterm/final exams.

Graduate Requirements:  Graduate students have additional required reading, which will be discussed during four extra sessions of the class (time and place TBA). Undergraduates are welcome also to do this reading and attend the discussion sessions.  In addition graduates will write a 12-18 page paper, due on Dec. 6.  Topics will be chosen from a list of possible topics provided by the professor.  Graduate grade percentages are: reading reports/class participation, 20%; four quizzes, total 10%; four essays 10% each; paper 30%.

Readings: Four books (Dawson, ed., Mission to Asia; Latham, trans., Travels of Marco Polo, de Rachewiltz, trans., Secret History of the Mongols, and Li Chih-ch’ang, Travels of an Alchemist) are available for purchase at TIS and the IU bookstore. Juvaini’s History of the World Conqueror is out of print and a copy is on reserve at the library.

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