The military campaigns that comprised the Crusades lasted only two centuries, but their impact on Europe and the Middle East was far more lasting, and the post-medieval legacy of the Crusades continues to be debated. This course focuses on European military expeditions to the Levant between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, attempting to understand these events and their consequences from a number of perspectives through firsthand accounts by Eastern and Western Christians, as well as Muslims and Jews. We begin by considering the world from which the first crusaders came, paying special attention to the social, political, and spiritual hierarchies which shaped their undertaking. After reconstructing the First Crusade in detail, the course then considers the crusader states of the eastern Mediterranean as a lens through which to explore medieval ideas about religious difference, race, cultural assimilation, and tolerance, before tracing the expansion of the crusading project in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. We end by considering crusading's long-term consequences, and assessing modern appropriations of the Crusades in service of a range of political and religious agendas.
Prerequisites: Students may not receive credit for both HIST 115 and HIST 307.