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Crusades and Holy Wars: Then and Now

What perpetuates conflicts and allows catchwords to be reborn and reused over and over again? Is there an inherent force in the way a story is told and retold? Does it create myths or do myths create stories and even locations? All this goes into exploring the relationship between peoples, beliefs, and locations from the Middle East to the United States today.

Coursework Overview

The coursework for this Endeavor community involves taking a one-unit course in the fall semester and a half-unit course in the spring semester, both taught by Dr. Sulzer-Reichel. 

Fall 2021 Semester

Spring 2022 Semester

FYS 100: Crusades and Holy Wars (1 unit)

IDST 190: Crusades and Holy Wars Seminar (.5 unit)

FYS 100 satisfies a general education requirement; students are required to take one first-year seminar (FYS) during each of their first two semesters at Richmond.

IDST 190 is a half-unit project based course part of the Endeavor program.

Specific Course Information

FYS 100: Crusades and Holy Wars

This course will concentrate on how lasting and formative historical narratives are. We will use the crusades as a case study for the relationship between historical events and their reception and re-use in the course of history up until our current political and social lives. We will start with questions about what actually happened during the crusades, how we know what happened, and how reliable our sources as well as academic articles about them are. From there, we will look into what drives the conflicts, especially between the Middle East and the West today.  After centuries of warfare between Islam and Christianity, we will look behind and beyond the rationales of the conflicts. In the end, we will see that the mutations of historical narratives are not limited to the crusades, and we will try to determine the extent to which this might be a general human reaction to events that are too complex to cope with. Finally, we will look into the mechanisms and strategies that evolve over time, and how they might not only be the result of making complex realities manageable, but also become the nucleus of future conflict.

IDST 190: Crusades and Holy Wars Seminar

The students will be required to develop individual research projects that specifically look at the change of historical narratives over time and how they affect our perception of our own identity today. We will do this with a special regard to our local narratives here, for instance by looking into the representation of Virginia's history, be it in context with the civil war, with the history of slavery, with public artistic representations as for instance on Monument Avenue, with the representation of Virginians in the context of greater American and social history.

Faculty Information

Dr. Martin Sulzer-Reichel
Dr. Martin Sulzer-Reichel is Director of the Arabic Language Program and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Roadmap Short Course Information

As part of the Endeavor program, you will particiapte in the popular Roadmap to Success pre-orientation program, where you will take a short course led by Dr. Sulzer-Reichel. 

Short Course Description: Hospitality International

When we receive guests, or people invite us into their houses, there are more rules and expectations concerning our behavior than we are actually aware. This starts with the question when we can actually enter a house (or let someone into ours), depending on who is present, to what we say, how we behave, which part of the house we are led to—and how long we can or should stay. As complex as this is within our own culture (and the differences can be quite astounding, even within one country, or between city and country dwellers), how much more complicated is that field when we encounter or host people across cultural boundaries. Let’s explore the rules of politeness, good behavior, and cross-cultural understanding by bringing in not least our own background—and looking at the customs that constitute the frame of the well-being of our peers and other people we encounter.