The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the study of Western Civilization (AHI) will offer a free, public course on the history of the Crusades beginning January 21, 2013 at the AHI’s headquarters located at 21 West Park Row, Clinton, N.Y. “The Crusades in Context” will be taught by AHI Resident Fellow Dr. Christopher Hill, an award-winning scholar and teacher.  The course will meet on Monday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and last for twelve weeks ending April 15, 2013. Refreshments will be served. All are welcome, but space is limited. To enroll, please email classes@theahi, or call 315-381-3335 for more information.

The course, which is part of the AHI’s 2012-13 programming devoted to the theme of civilizational struggle, will focus on the European attempts to retake the Holy Land during the Middle Ages. The course will place the Crusades into the context of their time showing how, ironically, contact with Islam transformed Europe and began its march toward philosophy, science and exploration that would ultimately make the descendants of the Crusaders the most powerful nations on earth. Topics will include the roots of the Crusader idea, the formation of Islam and its rise to prominence, the initial victories of the Crusaders and their long defeat, the impact of Muslim learning on the west, and the Mongols who worked simultaneously from the other direction, and briefly forged one of the greatest empires in human history.

Christopher Hill earned his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and has advanced degrees in both medieval and modern European history. He has taught at the University of Texas and Hamilton College, where he received the Sidney Wertimer Award for excellence in teaching in 2010. While a graduate student he composed a novel satirizing political correctness on a fictional college campus. In 2000, the book, Virtual Morality, won the Editors’ Book Award from Pushcart Press.