Course: Architecture and Urbanism of the Ancient and Medieval World

HC 231H

Professor: Ocean Howell

This course will examine society and culture in the ancient and medieval world through the study of architecture and urbanism. In order to account for changes to the ordering of physical space, one must account for changes to the ordering of the broader society. Accordingly, in this course we will be using buildings and cities as a lens through which to investigate transformations in political systems (like the collapse of an empire), in economic systems (like the rise of mercantile capitalism), and in social systems (like the emergence of the bourgeoisie). The course will focus on Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, but will also consider the architectural expressions of emerging colonialism. Students will engage with primary sources like architectural drawings, travel narratives, city plans, and design treatises, among other materials. The overarching aim of this course is to teach students to think of history not as a set of static facts, but rather as a practice.