ENGL 303 Fall 2013 Medieval East and West: Travel, Holy War, Storytelling (D)

Cross Listed as ARAB303, COMP315
It is frequently noted that the contemporary divide between the European West and the Arab East began as far back as the Crusades. At the same time, however, the intellectual traditions of the European West are unimaginable without the influences of Arab learning. While the largest Christian library in Europe in the 10th century contained a mere 400 volumes, the largest library (of 70) in Muslim Cordoba contained 600,000, and the library in Cairo 2 million. European scholars traveled not only to Sicily and al-Andalus, but to Baghdad and Cairo, to study science, medicine, philosophy, and literature. This course will explore the ways in which medieval Muslims and Christians depicted one another--sometimes in images of intractable otherness and sometimes in negotiations of surprising sympathy. Readings will include contemporary theoretical and critical texts by Edward Said and others; travel narratives by Marco Polo, John Mandeville, and Ibn Battuta; writings about the Crusades from both the Christian and the Muslim side; and above all storytelling from the Thousand and One Nights, Boccaccio's Decameron, and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. As part of the Exploring Diversity Initiative, this course examines the identities that medieval Christians and Muslims imagined for themselves and each other in ways that still linger powerfully today--to give just one example, in Osama bin Laden's 1998 fatwah against the United States and Pope Urban II's invocation of the First Crusade in 1095.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, three short position papers, one long research paper of 12-15 pages
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Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preference: junior and senior English and Comparative Literature majors, and Middle East Studies concentrators
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Exploring Diversity
Other Attributes: ARAB Arabic Studies Electives,ENGL Pre-1700 Courses,ENGL Literary Histories A
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1726
ENGL303-01(F) SEM Medieval East & West (D) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsExploring Diversity Initiative Sherron E. Knopp
MR 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Hollander 158 1726
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