Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | Graduate Topics in NELC: Survey of Islamic Art and Architecture
N695 | 20074 | Gruber, Christiane


This course examines the beginnings, development, and maturation of
Islamic art and architecture around the world from the 7th to the 20th
century. Beginning with a discussion of Islam, Muhammad, the Qur’an,
and a definition of "Islamic"art, we will discuss the roles and
meanings of demarcating divine topography as visible in the Ka‘ba in
Mecca and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The rapid spread of Islam
to the east and west during the 9th–11th centuries created a new
vocabulary for Islamic art and architecture, fusing preexisting
Byzantine and Persian models with Islamic innovations. We will look at
mosque and palace complexes in north Africa, southern Spain, as well
as in Mesopotamia and Central Asia. During the Crusades, Islam came
into close contact with Europe, resulting in fascinating hybrid
objects and architecture that call into question the simplistic
division of "East" and "West." From the 15th to the 17th century, the
three so-called gunpowder states of Anatolia (the Ottomans), Persia
(the Safavids), and the Indian Subcontinent (the Mughals) created new
concepts of empire, wealth, and administration in the imperial cities
of Istanbul, Isfahan, and Agra. Finally, Colonialism and Orientalism
will be examined, as well as the emergence of modern Islamic art.