Freshman/Sophomore Seminar: The History of Heaven

History 39R

Fall 2016
3104 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 4-6

Higher Learning begins with the study of heaven. Heaven provides humanity the foundation of its knowledge and political order. One simply cannot understand what knowledge is or how politics function without basic understanding of the ways of heaven. This course examines those ways. Specifically, it examines the function heaven serves in the founding of order against the void in nature through the establishment of conventional systems of time and space and the role heaven has played in the promulgation of political propaganda. It does so from a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary perspective that covers the course of Eurasian history. We will study the various celestial systems of different peoples, representations of heavenly figures in iconography, mythology, and typology, and the expression of heaven and hell in literature and art. In so doing we will see heaven unfold through the developments, technical and political, that leave us with the world we have today.