Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies

The Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies offers a concentration for undergraduates who wish to pursue the bachelor of arts degree (A.B.). The concentration offers the students a choice of two tracks: Ancient Western Asian Studies or Egyptology.

Ancient Western Asian Studies Track

Also known as the Near East or Middle East, Western Asia includes present-day Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and other neighboring states, a broad geographic area that was connected in antiquity with the wider world—the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, and the Asian subcontinent. Students will be exposed to the critical study of the ancient cultures of this region (ca. 3400 B.C.E.–100 C.E.) using the tools of archaeology, epigraphy, and historical inquiry. A variety of interdisciplinary, comparative, and theoretical approaches will be introduced to give students the tools and methods to explore this region’s ancient languages and literatures, political and socio-economic modes of organization, art and architecture, religious traditions and other systems of knowledge, such as early science.

Courses

The undergraduate concentration in Ancient Western Asian Studies (AWAS) requires a total of at least ten (10) courses that are determined in the following way:

I. Introductory Courses (3 courses)

All AWAS concentrators are required to take the following three courses:

  1. AWAS 0800 Introduction to the Ancient Near East or ARCH 0370 Archaeology of Mesopotamia or ARCH 1600 Archaeologies of the Near East
  2. AWAS 0200 Introduction to Akkadian
  3. AWAS 0210 Intermediate Akkadian

II. Foundational Courses (3 courses)

At least one course is required from each of the following three areas:

1. History and Culture of Ancient Western Asia

Possible offerings include but are not limited to:

  1. AWAS 1100 Imagining the Gods: Myths and Myth-making in Ancient Mesopotamia (WRIT)
  2. AWAS 2310B Assyriology I (WRIT)
  3. AWAS 2310C Assyriology II (WRIT)
  4. AWAS 1500 Ancient Babylonian Magic and Medicine
  5. AWAS 2600 Topics in Cuneiform Studies
  6. Gilgamesh and the Quest for Immortality (new course)

2. Ancient Scholarship in Western Asia

Possible offerings include but are not limited to:

  1. AWAS 1600 Astronomy Before the Telescope
  2. AWAS 1650 Time in the Ancient World (WRIT)
  3. AWAS 1700 Astronomy, Divination and Politics in the Ancient World (WRIT)
  4. AWAS 1750 Divination in Ancient Mesopotamia (WRIT)
  5. AWAS 2310A Ancient Scientific Texts: Akkadian
  6. Scribes and Scholarship in the Ancient Near East (new course)

3. Archaeology of Ancient Western Asia

Possible offerings include but are not limited to:

  1. ARCH 1200F City and the Festival: Cult Practices and Architectural Production in the Ancient Near East (WRIT)
  2. ARCH 1200I Material Worlds: Art and Agency in the Near East and Africa
  3. ARCH 1810 Under the Tower of Babel: Archaeology, Politics, and Identity in the Modern Middle East (WRIT)
  4. ARCH 2010C Architecture, Body, and Performance in the Ancient Near Eastern World (WRIT)
  5. ARCH 2300 The Rise (and Demise) of the State in the Near East
  6. Archaeology and Text (new course)

III. Depth Requirements (2 courses)

  1. At least two additional courses offered in AWAS or ARCH dealing with ancient Western Asia. These courses must be approved by the undergraduate concentration advisor.

IV. Breadth Requirement (1 course)

  1. At least one course offered in EGYT or ARCH on the archaeology, art, history, culture, or language of ancient Egypt.

V. Elective (1 course)

  1. At least one elective course on the ancient world broadly defined. Usually this course will be offered in Ancient Western Asian Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Classics, Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, Egyptology, History, History of Art and Architecture, Judaic Studies, Philosophy, or Religious Studies. The elective course must be approved by the undergraduate concentration advisor.

Capstone

All concentrators in AWAS are required to complete a capstone project. The project can take many forms, but the common feature shared among all possible projects will be a public presentation. Typically in the final semester before graduating, the concentrator will give this capstone presentation before faculty, fellow students, and other interested audiences. If the concentrator is writing an undergraduate honors thesis, the procedure for which is detailed below, this work should provide the content for the capstone presentation. Students not writing an honors thesis will base their presentation on a research project more in depth than a class project, though the topic may stem from a course project or paper. The format of the presentation may vary; suggestions range from an illustrated lecture to a video or an installation presented with discussion. Both the content and the format of the capstone project should be discussed with and agreed upon by the concentration advisor no later than the end of the first semester of the senior year.

Honors

It is possible for students to receive the A.B. in Ancient Western Asian Studies with departmental honors. To do so students will need to write a senior honors thesis according to the criteria and procedure outlined below.

Eligibility and Approval

At the beginning of the second semester of the junior year, the student should begin thinking about potential topics and consult with the department’s concentration advisor. Students seeking to graduate with honors will have received strong grades in concentration courses. In practice this means a preponderance of grades of ‘A’ in concentration courses. Students who are considering graduating with honors are strongly encouraged to take concentration courses for a letter grade. If the concentration advisor agrees that a senior honors thesis may be undertaken, the student must obtain (1) the agreement of two faculty members (at least one from the department) to serve as readers as well as (2) the approval of the department chair. If all parties agree that an honors thesis may be undertaken, the student must submit a working bibliography to the potential readers by the end of the semester (due 5/15).

Procedure

  1. 1. In the first semester of the senior year, the student will register for Individual Study Project in Ancient Western Asian Studies (AWAS). Note that this course is in addition to the ten courses required for the concentration. The student will submit a working title and outline, as well as a one-page abstract of the intended project by the end of the first month of the semester (due 9/30). The student will then work with the readers to prepare a detailed outline of the thesis with accompanying bibliography. Both readers must approve the thesis plan, and the student must then submit a partial draft (at least one major section) before the end of the Fall semester (due 12/15).
  2. 2. In the second semester of the senior year, the student will register for Individual Study Project in Ancient Western Asian Studies (AWAS). Note that this course is in addition to the ten courses required for the concentration. This stage will normally involve meetings with the first reader twice a month, and with the second reader monthly, to discuss the on-going research and writing of the thesis.
  3. 3. A complete draft of the thesis must be submitted to the honors committee by 3/15. As a rule of thumb, the thesis should be not more than 100 pages in length, including bibliography.
  4. 4. Three bound copies of the final version of the honors thesis must be deposited by 4/15.
  5. 5. During a half-hour session during the final exam period, the student will give a capstone presentation defending the thesis in front of the thesis committee as well as any other faculty and students who wish to attend.

Egyptology Track

Courses

The undergraduate concentration in Egyptology requires a total of at least ten courses. Six of these must be taken by all concentrators (*), but the remaining four can be chosen from a fairly broad range of courses, to suit individual interests.

I. Introductory Courses (6 courses)

  1. *EGYT 1310-1320 Middle Egyptian I-II
  2. *EGYT 1430-1440 Ancient Egyptian History I-II
  3. *ARCH 0150 Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
  4. EGYT 1420 Ancient Egyptian Religion and Magic or ARCH 1625 Temples and Tombs

II. In-Depth Courses (2 courses)

  1. *EGYT 1330 Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts
  2. EGYT 1410 Ancient Egyptian Literature or an EGYT or ARCH course in material culture

III. Breadth Course (1 course)

Any course covering the ancient Near East or Mediterranean world outside Egypt, such as:

  1. AWAS 0800 Introduction to the Ancient Near East or ARCH 1600 Archaeologies of the Near East

IV. Elective Course (1 course)

  1. Any course germane to ancient Egypt or the ancient Near East or Mediterranean world. Alternative and elective courses must be approved by the undergraduate concentration advisor. Such courses will normally be offered by Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Religious Studies, Classics, Judaic Studies, Anthropology, History of Art and Architecture, History, or Philosophy. Concentrators are welcome to take most courses offered by Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies (EGYT and AWAS), Archaeology (ARCH), or related departments, though some may require the instructor’s approval. Concentrators should consult with the concentration advisor to discuss the courses most suitable to their interests.

Capstone

All concentrators in Egyptology are required to complete a capstone project. The project can take many forms, but the common feature shared among all possible projects will be a public presentation. Typically in the final semester before graduating, the concentrator will give this capstone presentation before faculty, fellow students, and other interested audiences. If the concentrator is writing an undergraduate honors thesis, the procedure for which is detailed below, this work should provide the content for the capstone presentation. Students not writing an honors thesis will base their presentation on a research project more in depth than a class project, though the topic may stem from a course project or paper. The format of the presentation may vary; suggestions range from an illustrated lecture to a video or an installation presented with discussion. Both the content and the format of the capstone project should be discussed with and agreed upon by the concentration advisor no later than the end of the first semester of the senior year.

Honors

It is possible for students to receive the A.B. in Egyptology with departmental honors. To do so students will need to write a senior honors thesis according to the criteria and procedure outlined below.

Eligibility and Approval

At the beginning of the second semester of the junior year, the student should begin thinking about potential topics and consult with the department’s concentration advisor. Students seeking to graduate with honors will have received strong grades in concentration courses. In practice this means a preponderance of grades of ‘A’ in concentration courses. Students who are considering graduating with honors are strongly encouraged to take concentration courses for a letter grade. If the concentration advisor agrees that a senior honors thesis may be undertaken, the student must obtain (1) the agreement of two faculty members (at least one from the department) to serve as readers as well as (2) the approval of the department chair. If all parties agree that an honors thesis may be undertaken, the student must submit a working bibliography to the potential readers by the end of the semester (due 5/15).

Procedure

  1. 1. In the first semester of the senior year, the student will register for Individual Study Project in Egyptology. Note that this course is in addition to the ten courses required for the concentration. The student will submit a working title and outline, as well as a one-page abstract of the intended project by the end of the first month of the semester (due 9/30). The student will then work with the readers to prepare a detailed outline of the thesis with accompanying bibliography. Both readers must approve the thesis plan, and the student must then submit a partial draft (at least one major section) before the end of the Fall semester (due 12/15).
  2. 2. In the second semester of the senior year, the student will register for Individual Study Project in Egyptology. Note that this course is in addition to the ten courses required for the concentration. This stage will normally involve meetings with the first reader twice a month, and with the second reader monthly, to discuss the on-going research and writing of the thesis.
  3. 3. A complete draft of the thesis must be submitted to the honors committee by 3/15. As a rule of thumb, the thesis should be not more than 100 pages in length, including bibliography.
  4. 4. Three bound copies of the final version of the honors thesis must be deposited by 4/15.
  5. 5. During a half-hour session during the final exam period, the student will give a capstone presentation defending the thesis in front of the thesis committee as well as any other faculty and students who wish to attend.




Page last updated in September, 2010.

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