James Pickett


My teaching is wide-ranging, touching on my research themes from multiple angles: from early Islam to the Mongols to imperial Russian history.


I conceive of my undergraduate courses as a loose “Eurasian trilogy,” beginning with “Rise of Islam,” followed by “Empires of the Steppe,” and culminating with “Imperial Russia.” My instructional methodology emphasizes simulations and hands-on activities. A Faculty Spotlight interview goes into some depth about the ways my research background shapes my approach to teaching.

I also teach a “sequel” of sorts to “Rise of Islam” for the Religious Studies department entitled “Islam in Asia,” which focuses on religion outside of the Middle East from the post-Mongol period to the present, as well as the history department’s Capstone Seminar on historical methods through the prism of South Asian history.

Digital humanities is increasingly a teaching focus of mine as well: in spring 2024 I will be teaching Computational Methods in the Humanities (closely modeled on David Birnbaum’s course by the same name).

Current and Prospective Students

If you are a current undergraduate student of mine, you will find all course materials on Canvas. If you are considering taking one of my classes, you can find sample syllabi at this link. (Caution: students currently enrolled should consult the most up-to-date version of the syllabus on Canvas, since the sample syllabi may not reflect the current schedule.) I have also composed a set of generalized writing guidelines and useful links.

If you are a current or former student who would like me to write a recommendation, please refer to these instructions.

Last updated on January 21, 2021
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