East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Karavansara U. – first courses

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When you have a good idea (or one you think is a good idea), you better put it in practice as soon as possible. Hesitation is a trap. So, I mentioned my idea to present a selection of courses the readers of Karavansara might be interested in taking, using online platforms.

The rules of thumb (we can’t really call them by-laws) of the Karavansara University are quite simple:

  • free online courses
  • related to the topics we usually cover on this blog: adventure & historical fiction, fantasy & pulp, history, the East, the Silk Road, and the whole wide world

And with this in mind, here’s a first selection of five courses that might kindle your curiosity…

University of Virginia: Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction
– A nice lit. course about a genre we like. Great to learn more about the genre, and discover a few authors.

Universiteit Leiden: The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World
– This one starts today (Dec. 18th) and I am taking it too. The heyday of the Arab world is a fascinating time, and one that we have visited via the Arabian Nights and those garish Tits & Sand movies. Time to give it a serious look.

University of Glasgow: Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime
– One of the MOOCs I enjoyed the most, this is a crash course in grave-robbing, crime smuggling, art counterfeiting and many other delectable (and highly illegal) activities.

University of Exeter: Many Faces: Understanding the Complexities of Chinese Culture
– Just like the Arab world, the Chinese world is a vast source of fascination, and it is often misunderstood. But not here on Karavansara, because we take this sort of courses.

Università per Stranieri di Siena: Introduction to Italian
– We have often said that learning a new language is a good way to dust off the brain and widen our perspectives, and for starters… why don’t you guys start learning my language? We’ll be able to chat afterwards!

And this is it for the courses that start in the last weeks of December and the early weeks of January.
Please let me know what you think of this initiative, if you think the courses are interesting, what other sort of courses you might like, and should you decide to take one (or three) please share your impressions.
And thank you!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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