Instructor: Geoffrey Durham
The Eurasian landmass has been the site of the world’s largest empires led by some of history’s most infamous figures, from Chinggis (Genghis) Khan in the thirteenth century to Stalin in the twentieth. The gargantuan size of these polities and the staggering ethno-linguistic, racial, religious, political, and ecological diversity that they encompassed provokes a number of questions: What held them together? What were the sources of their power? How did they relate to other parts of the globe? And, lastly, how did they shape the modern world? In this course, we will examine the rise and fall of the Mongol, Ottoman, Chinese, and Russian-Soviet empires as well as other regional powers. We will focus on themes of settler colonialism, enslavement, science, revolution, capitalism/anticapitalism, and geopolitics.