REL 486
Islam in European Culture from Muhammad to Modernity Spring 2020
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed REL 486 / HIST 486

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From the Crusades to modern colonialism, the relationship between Muslims and Western Christians has often been recounted as the clash of two opposing civilizations, a history of warfare and of incompatible values. This tutorial takes a different point of departure, namely the recent scholarly recognition that relationships between Muslims and Western Christians were often rooted in the intimacy of frequent interaction. We will delve into the many ways in which Muslim peoples shaped European culture from the Middle Ages to the present. We will explore different domains, from one of the first translations of the Qur’an into any language, the Latin version done in Toledo in 1143, to the many goods made by Muslim craftsmen that filled the homes of Renaissance Europe, and the roles of early modern Muslims as captives, slaves, diplomats, travelers, and converts. In the modern period, Muslims continued to inflect European culture both as colonial subjects and as domestic minorities, producing and inspiring art, imaginative literature, and critiques of European power. Our investigation will encompass music, visual art and film in addition to written works. How do we make sense of this intricately interwoven history? And what are its legacies for the present? Sources both primary and secondary will include Leo Africanus, Lady Montagu, Montesquieu, Mozart, al-Tahtawi, Flaubert, Sayyid Qutb and Fatima Mernissi.
The Class: Type: Tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3310
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: five tutorial papers (5-7 pages.) and five shorter responses; occasional presentations
Prerequisites: History majors; juniors and seniors
Enrollment Preferences: if the course is overenrolled, a statement of interest will be requested
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
REL 486 Division II HIST 486 Division II
DPE Notes: This tutorial takes the approach of cultural history; discussions will heed the politics of translation across religious, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. We will historicize the way "difference" has been understood, and see that the alterity that was once viewed as theological was in other eras seen as the product of culture or politics. In addition, the tutorial recovers the rich artistic and literary production that intercultural interactions inspired--a legacy worthy of study.
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia
HIST Group G Electives - Global History
HIST Group P Electives - Premodern

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