The course examines the roles of Turks and other primarily nomadic peoples as raiders, migrants, slave-soldiers, and empire-builders in the ancient and medieval history of Eurasia (including Central Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe) and in the formation of the Islamic world. Topics covered include long-distance economic and cultural contacts (“silk roads”) facilitated by “steppe empires”; the Islamization of the Turks and their gradual takeover of Iranian, Arab, and other Muslim lands; lifeways (especially pastoral nomadism); the relationship between nomadic and sedentary societies; political structures; steppe warfare; the role of physical geography and the environment. Students explore the histories and landscape geographies of Turks through fascinating primary sources and internet resources. The course illustrates the key role that Turks played in the formation of the modern world on the Eurasian continent.
The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (History)