History of Civilizations IΙ

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EIS608 History of Civilizations IΙ

Professor: Christos MERANTZAS | Course outline [pdf file]

The curriculum of this course examines the genesis of the notions of culture and civilization in the European area after the 16th century, as well their differentiation in use. At the same time we examine the notion of culture having regard to the human sciences (sociology, anthropology, economy, psychology) and mainly to history. We also analyse the “vocabulary” of cultural particularities of ancient Civilizations and we make a special mention of their semantic differentials as well in space as in time. In order to make clear the process of creation of cultural identities through history, in relation with a duration of long or short time required for their arrangement in space, we turn to advantage a wide historical-archaeological material of past Civilizations of the Mediterranean world, of Mesopotamia, Asia and Central America, focusing on the rich spectrum of their structures, practices and alternations during centuries. Thus we bring out, by the use of many exemplary cases, their distinguishable particularities without devaluate the facts of local interest or the episodes of micro-history.

We analyse also, in the form of key studies, some common in all Civilizations cultural and a-chronic patterns, as for example death or body, insisting on the value of cultural-and symbolic-capital. We finally examine the speed of diffusion or dispersion of ancient, modern and post-modern cultural practices, the perennial character of habits and especially the possibility of democratic production and consumption of historic-cultural benefits in the actual anthropogenetic environment.

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Understood the social origin of the concept of culture in France but also in Germany, the cultural element in the dimension of “diversification” of people and the diversity of cultures, as well as the importance of controlling emotional behavior, strengthened self-coercion and “social pressure for self-control” (Soziale Zwang nach Selbstzwang by Norbert Elias) for western culture.
  • Use the knowledge for the creative processing of the themes analyzed during the lectures and concerning:
    • Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s historical volontarism and the rationality of history in Hegel,
    • the distinction of holistic and individual societies,
    • the phylogenetic trees of evolutionary history,
    • the concept of religion in the history of culture,
    • art and in the aesthetic values in the history of culture,
    • culture as symbolic capital, and finally,
    • the distinction between tradition and modernity.


  1. Ανατολικές Θρησκείες, Παπαλεξανδρόπουλος Λ. Στέλιος (Eudoxus code: 50658835)
  2. Γραμματική των πολιτισμών, F. Braudel (Eudoxus code: 33134303)
  3. Ινδουισμός – Ιστορική εισαγωγή, Παπαλεξανδρόπουλος Λ. Στέλιος (Eudoxus code: 50659295)
  4. Βουδισμός – Η ινδική περίοδος, Παπαλεξανδρόπουλος Λ. Στέλιος (Eudoxus code: 50659293)


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