Below is a draft of my syllabus for my upcoming class on ‘Cities and Countryside in the Ancient World’ class. I’m very Mediterranean-centric; 12 weeks won’t allow for much else, and stick with what you know, right? Comments, suggestions are welcome.
HIST3902-A Cities and Countryside in the Ancient World
Cities are creatures of the countryside. Understanding that relationship is key to understanding the ancient world. Discuss.
This course looks at the relationship between cities and countryside in the ancient world, as evidenced primarily through landscape archaeology. I will be arguing, amongst other things, that the form of that relationship is the key indicator for understanding the mindset, the nature of, that particular culture. It is no accident that ‘cities’ and ‘civilization’ are etymologically related: thus, looking at cities and countryside will give us an understanding of what being civilized meant in antiquity.
Hacking as a Way of Knowing
Every exercise in this course builds on every other, as we build tools and work with data to construct an understanding of what it meant to be civilized in the (Greco-Roman) ancient world. The course objectives then are to:
- Introduce and explore the study of ancient landscapes, society, and economy
- Develop facility with representing archaeological and historical data using GIS and/or Network Analysis
- Make a positive and public contribution to scholarly knowledge on some aspect of Greco-Roman antiquity as it played out across space.
You will be working with datasets that have been made available to you by scholars working in the field. I am enormously grateful to these partners. Some of this material is unpublished; all of it is rich. You have the opportunity to make real contributions to scholarly knowledge by mining and analyzing this data for new insights. Accordingly, you must maintain the highest standards of professionalism and academic ‘good citizenship’ as you work with this data.
I do not see the point of assigning you work that only I or the TA will read. In which case, we will be conducting certain portions of this course in public on the internet. (For more on my teaching philosophy, see http://bit.ly/LLq765).
Anything posted online may be posted under a pseudonym should you have privacy concerns. You need to discuss these with me during week 1. I strongly recommend you do use your own name, so that you can begin to build your online footprint as a serious scholar. I also suggest you begin to lurk on Twitter, to follow prominent archaeologists and historians there and on Academia.edu, so that you can connect to a world-wide community of practice.
The best student work will be posted and promoted on Electric Archaeology (electricarchaeology.ca) and on Twitter, with the ambition of having the Journal of Digital Humanities select it for formal publication. If your work is selected, you are under no obligation to have your work promoted in this fashion should you so choose.
We will discuss and explore a number of key concepts. Terms that you should watch out for in your readings: primitivist, modernist, consumer city, producer city, bazaar, space syntax, actor-network theory, social network analysis, landscape formation processes, the anthropological nature of time/space, networks, information systems, agent-based simulation, computational economics.
The following is on reserve in the library. Its philosophical and methodological approach will underpin much of what we will do.
Knappett, Carl. An Archaeology of Interaction: Network Perspectives on Material Culture and Society. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2011.
Demonstrating Your Scholarly Growth
- ORBIS and the social experience of space – due in class Wednesday Week 2 (September 19). 10%
- GIS/Network Analysis – due in class Wednesday Week 9 (November 7). 30%
- Final Project – due in class Monday December 03. 40%
These three assignments dovetail into one another. The first exercise involves working with ORBIS The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World http://orbis.stanford.edu/ to experience, via networks, maps, and simulation, something of the social experience of space around the Mediterranean. In the second exercise, you will create maps and/or social network graphs from real data provided by our partners (exact details TBA). In the Final Project, you will combine your understanding of the spatial realities of the ancient world with your maps and graphs in a final project which may combine media and text to answer the question with which we began the class.
- Theory & Practise Exercises – due at end of Week 4 (October 5) and Week 6 (October 19). 20%.
These are a suite of exercises you may redo until you have achieved mastery. You may begin these exercises during Week 2, and submit at any point prior to the due date. The earlier you submit, the greater the chance that we can look at the work and help you. You have to allow at least 4 days for us to look the work over and return it to you. If you submit 4 days before the due date, you will not be allowed to redo the work. Please keep in mind that by offering you this chance, we are accepting a heavy grading load, and we ask for courtesy as we do so.
NB You will note that there is no final exam. DO NOT take that as a sign that this class is not as important as your other classes. By not having a final, I wish to signal to you that you must bring your best work to bear on your class work at all times.
Required (free) Software
You should download and install the following free software packages on your computer – or team up with someone else who can download and install them, should you not have access to a suitable machine. Note that ‘Portable GIS’ is meant to be run from a USB stick, and thus could be run on University computers.
QGIS http://www.qgis.org/ OR Portable GIS http://www.archaeogeek.com/portable-gis.html
Some of the following simulations can be run in your browser (others you may only read about, as the code hasn’t been released). They (and their associated texts) should be explored. Why do they work the way they do? What are the assumptions behind them? How do they enhance or not your understanding?
Roman Itineraries http://graeworks.net/abm/itineraries.html
Procedural Modeling of Cities http://ccl.northwestern.edu/cities/
Artificial Anasazi (a key archaeological implementation of agent based modeling) http://www.openabm.org/model/2222/version/1/view
Timelines & Mapping resources
Introductory Lecture on Netlogo – Agents in Archaeology (video)
GIS and Agent-Based Modeling http://gisagents.blogspot.ca/
Archaeological Networks http://archaeologicalnetworks.wordpress.com/
The Scottbot Irregular http://www.scottbot.net/HIAL/
Maps, Data and Government Information Centre http://www.library.carleton.ca/contact/service-points/madgic
Digital Humanities Subject Guide http://www.library.carleton.ca/research/subject-guides/digital-humanities#welcome
Greek and Roman Studies Subject Guide http://www.library.carleton.ca/research/subject-guides/greek-and-roman-studies
The following weekly schedule of topics is tentative and subject to change.
Part 1 (September):
- Setting the scene: history & theory. Abandoning your 2-dimensional, top-down view of space: the emic vs. the etic.
- Minoans, Mycenaeans and the Aegean
- The Era of Colonization (Greeks, Etruscans, Phoenicians)
Part 2 (October):
- Maps and GIS
- Agent Based Simulation
- Network Analysis
- Landscape Archaeology & Survey
Part 3 (November):
- Greek Cities
- Greek Landscapes
- Roman Cities
- Roman Landscapes
The End (December 3)
- Answering the questions with which we began.
The following readings are indicative of the issues involved, and will deepen your understanding. This list is by no means exhaustive – consult the works’ bibliographies to pointers to further work! I provide them here to help you, to round out the ideas presented in our meetings. You will be able to make useful contributions to that discussion if you come prepared, having looked at some of these works. If you can’t find them on your own, you *must* ask the Historian/Classics Librarian for help to find other possible books/articles/online resources that can speak to the week’s topic. I expect you to read beyond the works listed here. Do you know how to use Google Scholar? Have you ever used L’Année philologique?
Agar, M. (2003). ‘My kingdom for a function: modelling misadventures of the innumerate’, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 6.3. http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/6/3/8.html
Bang, P., Mamoru Ikeguchi and Harmut G. Ziche, eds. (2006). Ancient Economies, Modern Methodologies : Archaeology, Comparative History, Models and Institutions.
Brughmans, T. (2012). ‘Thinking through networks: a review of formal network methods in archaeology’, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 19.2 Online version: DOI: 10.1007/s10816-012-9133-8 http://www.springerlink.com/index/10.1007/s10816-012-9133-8
Conolly, J., and M. Lake. (2006). Geographical Information Systems In Archaeology.
Coward, F. (2010). ‘Small worlds, material culture and Near Eastern social networks’, Proceedings of the British Academy 158, 449-479. http://www.fcoward.co.uk/Cowardsmallworlds.pdf
Frier, B. and D. Kehoe. (2007). ‘Law and economic institutions’, in W. Scheidel, I. Morris, R. Saller (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World. 113-143.
Graham, S. (2006). ‘Networks, Agent-Based Modeling, and the Antonine Itineraries’, The Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 19.1: 45-64.
Graham, S. (2009) ‘The Space Between: The Geography of Social Networks in the Tiber Valley’ in Coarelli, F. and Patterson, H. (eds) Mercator Placidissimus: the TiberValley in Antiquity. New research in the upper and middle river valley.
Graham, S. and J. Steiner. (2008). ‘Travellersim: Growing Settlement Structures and Territories with Agent-Based Modelling’, in J. Clark and E. Hagemeister (eds.), Digital Discovery: Exploring New Frontiers in Human Heritage. CAA 2006. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Proceedings of the 34th Conference, Fargo, United States, April 2006. 57-67.
Ingold, T. (1993). ‘The Temporality of the Landscape’. World Archaeology 25.2 152–174.
Johnson, M. (1999) Archaeological Theory.
Lansing, J. S., and J. N. Kremer. (1993). ‘Emergent Properties of Balinese Water Temple Networks: Coadaptation on a Rugged Fitness Landscape’. American Anthropologist 95.1: 97–114.
Laurence, R. (2001). ‘The Creation of Geography: An Interpretation of Roman Britain’ in C. Adams and R. Laurence (eds.). Travel and Geography in the Roman Empire.
Massey, D. J. Allen, S. Pile (eds.) City Worlds: Understanding Cities 1.
Neville, M. (1996) Metropolis and Hinterland : the City of Rome and the Italian Economy, 200 B.C.-A.D. 200.
Orejas, Almudena, and F. Javier Sánchez-Palencia. (2002). ‘Mines, Territorial Organization, and Social Structure in Roman Iberia: Carthago Noua and the Peninsular Northwest’. American Journal of Archaeology 106.44: 581–599.
Pettegrew, D. K. (2007). ‘The Busy Countryside of Late Roman Corinth: Interpreting Ceramic Data Produced by Regional Archaeological Surveys’. Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 76.4: 743–784.
Schortman, E. and W. Ashmore. (2012). ‘History, networks, and the quest for power: ancient political competition in the Lower Motagua Valley, Guatemala’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18.1: 1-21.
Smith, M. (2005) ‘Networks, Territories, and the Cartography of Ancient States’. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 95.4: 832–849.
3 thoughts on “Syllabus: Cities and Countryside in the Ancient World (digital humanities version)”
This looks great, Shawn! Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help integrate ORBIS into the course. While I can’t help with the historical domain, I’d be happy to provide raw data or put together a novel interface for your students.
Thanks Elijah! I’m sending you a note right now.
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