Michael Furman earned his Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of St Andrews. Originally from Washington state, he arrived at Florida State in 2018 where he taught in the Department of Classics for four years. A Greek Historian by training, his research focuses on the history of Boeotia and its most famous city, Thebes, in the fourth century B.C. Dr. Furman has been fortunate enough to live the historian’s dream and excavate the city he studies, serving as a Supervisor on the Thebes Excavation from 2011-2016. Since coming to FSU, his research portfolio has expanded to include work on the pedagogy of the ancient world. His current research project, Deconstructing Greek History, challenges the way ancient Greek history is and has historically been taught at the undergraduate level in the United States. In addition to his role as an Honors Core Faculty member, Dr. Furman serves as the Assistant Director for Curriculum for the Honors Program. In this role, he works with the Director to coordinate curriculum development which includes overseeing the development of Honors Signature Courses and soliciting and scheduling departmental honors sections. When he is not working he enjoys playing golf and is a huge fan of Star Wars and Marvel, references to which frequently appear in his teaching.
Historic Landscapes, Imagined Worlds: Ancient History Through Gaming - IDH3421
This course explores how the history of the ancient world is represented in both table-top (board) and video games. Starting with an exploration of board games in the ancient world, we then move to study modern games with ancient subjects. The course will follow a pattern of learning the history behind a selected game, playing the game, and then engaging in discussion on the accuracy of the game and how and why it adapts ancient history. After learning the mechanics and theories of game design, the culmination of this course allows students to implement their newfound knowledge as they design and construct a tabletop game with a historical theme to be debuted during an Honors playtesting event.
Appropriating the Past: The Use and Abuse of the Ancient World in Modern Society - IDH3114
This course examines evidence from the ancient world which challenges traditional views and presents diverse perspectives of Greek and Roman history, society, and culture. In addition to evidence from the ancient world, students engage with the history of the field of Classics as well as the contemporary political and social movements which attempt to appropriate the ancient world in knowingly distorted and increasingly extreme ways. The movements and groups studied in this course include the Framers, debates over slavery in the Antebellum United States, nationalism, colonialism, Nazism, the incel movement, and more.
Alienating History: Ancient Aliens, Pseudoarchaeology, and Historical Inquiry - IDH3420
In the last decade, channels such as History and Discovery have replaced much of their programming with shows like ‘Ancient Aliens’ that promote pseudoscience and speculation as a challenge to what they term ‘mainstream’ historical and archaeological methodology. This course explores this phenomenon by utilizing the historical method and the principles of archaeology to interrogate the claims put forward on these programs and social media outlets. Students will gain an understanding of why these programs have become so popular, how they are affecting public understanding of the past, and how the fields of archaeology and history can adapt to digital media trends to disseminate scholarly understanding.