The Evil Eye in Material Culture from Late Antiquity to Islam


The phenomenon often referred to as the 'evil eye,' is an enduring belief that harm can be exerted through the gaze, causing illness, misfortune, and even sudden death. This seminar explores the material culture of the evil eye in the eastern Mediterranean and Near East from pre-Islamic late antiquity (200-600 CE), to medieval Islam (1200-1400). Students will engage in cross-cultural analysis, examining a range of artifacts and images across media, and consider recurring themes in their research, like the relationship between artifacts and the body, debates surrounding licit and illicit magical practices, and intersections between material and textual evidence.
Curriculum Codes
  • CCI
  • R
  • ALP
  • CZ
Cross-Listed As
  • AMES 570S
  • ARTHIST 570S
Typically Offered
Fall and/or Spring