Welcome to MMW 12: Classical and Medieval Traditions, Winter 2016, with Professor Richard S. Cohen.

The class meets on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, from 9:00 – 9:50 in Warren Lecture Hall, room 2001.

Please consult the upper tabs for information that normally would appear on a printed syllabus: a course description, schedule of readings, information on class policies, grading, and assignments, and my office hours and email. I strongly recommend that you read through all these pages at the beginning of the quarter.

Also please note that you will need a password in order to access some parts of this web-syllabus. I will give you this password in class.


Covering circa 100 BCE to 1200 CE, this quarter examines the development of classical empires from China to the West, their collapse, and their transformation into distinct medieval forms. It also examines the rise and spread of Christianity, Islam, and Mahayana Buddhism. This course is the first of two writing-intensive quarters in the MMW sequence.

Every professor who teaches MMW 12 has a slightly different focus, based upon his or her professional interests. Much of my own scholarship focuses on India and religion. Thus, my MMW 12 section spends more time on India than that of other lecturers. Additionally, two themes that run through all of my units in this course are: (1) the good life, the place of sex and pleasure in life and, (2) the shape of history, how the imagination of the past influences the present.

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