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The YISAP qualification provides intellectual opportunities to graduate students with wide-ranging interests in the ancient and premodern worlds, extending their studies beyond departmental lines and incorporating methods from the social sciences and the humanities. Students fulfill the requirements of their home department, with a course of study individually tailored to allow for rigorous interdisciplinary work via seminars and independent study. The qualification is open to graduate students at Yale. For details, see the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Programs and Policies.

The Core Seminar

The theme for 2014-15 is "What is Commentary?" The associated Core Seminar, "Commentary: Theory and Practice," will meet in Spring 2015 and is co-taught by Chris Kraus (Classics, Renaissance Studies) and Hindy Najman (Judaic Studies, Religious Studies, Classics).  

Weekly meetings of the seminar will explore topics including the history, form, and purpose of scholarly commentary; ancient and medieval scholiastic traditions; commentary and commentators in the academy (the place of philology); commentary and translation; reception of commentary (including a unit on Nabokov's Pale Fire). To reinforce the multidisciplinary nature of the seminar, we include visits by scholars who will present and discuss topics of relevance to their research and the seminar's topic. Requirements include weekly readings and discussion, oral presentation on secondary readings, and a research paper. 

For students who wish to take a Core Seminar in the Fall, an alternative is offered this year: "Circa 1000", co-taught by Valerie Hansen (History), Mary Miller (Art History), and Anders Winroth (History, Medieval Studies). 

This meets Mondays from 3:30-520 in the Fall semester, 2014.

The world in the year 1000, when the different regions of the world participated in complex networks. Archaeological excavations reveal that the Vikings reached L'Anse aux Meadows, Canada, at roughly the same time that the Kitan people defeated China's Song dynasty and established a powerful empire stretching across the grasslands of Eurasia. Viking chieftains donned Chinese silks while Chinese princesses treasured Baltic amber among their jewelry. In what is now the American Southwest, the people of Chaco Canyon feasted on tropical chocolate, while the lords of Chichen Itza wore New Mexican turquoise—yet never knew the Huari lords of the central Andes. Islamic armies conquered territory in western China (modern Xinjiang) and northern India (around Delhi) for the first time. In this seminar, students read interpretative texts based on archaeology and primary sources, work with material culture, and develop skills of cross-cultural analysis.

Graduate Student Initiatives

The Ancient Judaism Workshop

An Ancient Judaism research workshop, intended to offer a setting for graduate students to share their current research with their fellow graduate students. This workshop allows a sense of academic sharing within the program and offers a suitable setting for students to present their work for evaluation and feedback before presenting their work to the larger academic community. The workshop also invites faculty members to share with the workshop's participants some of their most recent research projects, in order to allow a vibrant atmosphere for academic discussions among faculty and graduate students. The workshop occasionally invites participants from other universities to share their recent academic findings, especially if the person in mind has recently completed a research project of interest to the participants of the workshop.

The Pre-modern Gender & Sexuality Working Group (PGSWG)

offers a forum for students and academic fellows to meet and tackle questions and problems with like-minded colleagues who have a shared interest in gender and sexuality as well as the pre-modern. Thus the group also addresses issues of sources, methods, and frameworks for the study of pre-modern societies. Read More

The Yale Interdisciplinary Workshop for the Study of Antiquity

A new working group at Yale. The graduate student-organized working group is intended to serve as a forum for graduate students in diverse disciplines across the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences whose research centers on or relates to the ancient world. Relevant departments from which participants and presenters may be drawn include but are not limited to the Departments of History, Classics, Philosophy, History of Art, Religious Studies, Anthropology, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and East Asian Languages and Literature, as well as the Yale Divinity School and Yale Law School. Organizers: Sonja Anderson and Christina Harker. Read More

The Yale Arabic Philosophy Group

The Arabic Philosophy Group addresses itself equally to philosophers, Arabists, and Islamicists as well as to students and scholars of Classics, and Medieval, Renaissance, and Judaic studies. The speakers are asked to present original texts in English translation, so that knowledge of Arabic is not required to follow the presentation and participate in the discussion. Read More 

Participating Departments and Schools