- Medieval Studies
- Central Eurasian Studies
- Classical Studies
- Comparative Literature
- East Asian Languages and Cultures
- French & Italian
- Germanic Studies
- History and Philosophy of Science
- History of Art
- Honors College
- Jewish Studies
- Near Eastern Languages & Cultures
- Religious Studies
Please note that this list is not exhaustive: if you have questions about courses counting toward MEST credit, please contact the Institute.
|MEST-M 200||Dante's Divine Comedy||3 cr||Storey, W.|
|MEST-M 390||Medieval Philosophy||3 cr||Wood, R.|
|MEST-M 390||Western Europe: The High and Late Middle Ages||3 cr||Shopkow, L.|
|MEST-M 390||Later Latin Literature in Translation: Heroism in the Latin Middle Ages||3 cr||Balint, B.|
|MEST-M 490||Romanesque Art||4 cr||Reilly, D.|
|MEST-M 502||Boccaccio & Petrarch||4 cr||Storey, W.|
|MEST-M 502||Constructing the Self in Medieval European Literature||4 cr||McGerr, R.|
|MEST-M 815||Readings in Medieval Civilization||McGerr, R.|
|CEUS-T 132||Introductory Uyghur II - Undergraduate||4 cr||Nazarova, G.|
|CEUS-T 152||Introductory Persian II - Undergraduate||4 cr||Daneshgar, S.|
|CEUS-T 232||Intermediate Uyghur II - Undergraduate||4 cr||Nazarova, G.|
|CEUS-T 252||Intermediate Persian II - Undergraduate||4 cr||Daneshgar, S.|
|CEUS-T 332||Advanced Uyghur II - Undergraduate||4 cr||Nazarova, G.|
|CEUS-T 352||Advanced Persian II - Undergraduate||4 cr||Choksy, J.|
|CEUS-R 399/599||Sources on Medieval Central Eurasia: The Golden Age||3 cr||Beckwith, C.|
|CEUS-T 532||Introductory Uyghur II - Graduate||3 cr||Nazarova, G.|
|CEUS-T 552||Introductory Persian II - Graduate||3 cr||Daneshgar, S.|
|CEUS-T 632||Intermediate Uyghur II - Graduate||3 cr||Nazarova, G.|
|CEUS-T 652||Intermediate Persian II - Graduate||3 cr||Daneshgar, S.|
|CEUS-T 732||Advanced Uyghur II - Graduate||3 cr||Nazarova, G.|
|CEUS-T 752||Advanced Persian II - Graduate||3 cr||Choksy, J.|
|CLAS-L 100||Elementary Latin I||4 cr||Staff|
|CLAS-L 150||Elementary Latin II||4 cr||Staff|
|CLAS-G 150||Elementary Greek II - Undergraduate||4 cr||Staff|
|CLAS-L 200||Second-Year Latin I||3 cr||Staff|
|CLAS-L 250||Second-Year Latin II||3 cr||Staff|
|CLAS-G 250||Intro to Attic Greek - Undergraduate||3 cr||Ready, J.|
|CLAS-C 362||Later Latin Literature in Translation||3 cr||Balint, B.|
|CLAS-G 550||Elementary Greek II - Graduate||3 cr||Staff|
|CLAS-G 650||Intro to Attic Greek - Graduate||3 cr||Ready, J.|
|EALC-E 201||The Beauty of Violence and War in the Medieval Japanese War Tales||3 cr||Oxenboell, M.|
|EALC-E 352||The Mongol Invasions of Japan 1274 and 1281||3 cr||Oxenboell, M.|
|ENG-L 305||Chaucer||3 cr||Ingham, P.|
|ENG-L 305||Chaucer||3 cr||Lochrie, K.|
|FRIT-F 306||Roman et Poésie||3 cr||Gray, M.|
|FRIT-M 236||Dante's Divine Comedy||3 cr||Storey, W.|
|GER-G 636||Old Icelandic Literature||3 cr||Gade, K.|
|HIST-H 206||Medieval Civilization||3 cr||Deliyannis, D.|
|HIST-B352||Western Europe: The High and Late Middle Ages||3 cr||Shopkow, L.|
|HIST-B353||The Renaissance||3 cr||Field, A.|
|HIST-B354||The Reformation||3 cr||Field, A.|
|HIST-C205||Intro to Islamic Civilization||3 cr||Sahin, K.|
|HIST-J300||Istanbul through the Ages||3 cr||Sahin, K.|
|HIST-T500||Contact and Exchange across Eurasia, from Ancient Times through the Mongol Empire||3 cr||Lazzerini, E.|
|HPSC-X 102||Scientific Revolutions: Plato to NATO||3 cr||Staff|
|HPSC-X 207||The Occult in Western Civilization||3 cr||Newman, W.|
|FINA A-101||Ancient to Medieval Art||3 cr||Staff|
|HON-H 235||Monks, Nuns and Medieval Art||3 cr||Reilly, D.|
|FINA-A 327||Survey of Islamic Art||3 cr||Graves, M.|
|FINA-A 423/520||Romanesque Art||4 cr||Reilly, D.|
|HON-H 235||Monks, Nuns and Medieval Art||3 cr||Reilly, D.|
|JSTU-J 304||Muslim Spain: An Introduction||3 cr||González Diéguez, G.|
|JSTU-J 304||Jewish Philosophy in the Medieval World||3 cr||González Diéguez, G.|
|JSTU-J 320||Rabbinic Judaism: Literature and Beliefs||3 cr||Mokhtarian, J.|
|NELC-A 150||Elementary Arabic II - undergraduate||5 cr||Staff|
|NELC-A 250||Intermediate Arabic II - undergraduate||5 cr||Staff|
|NELC-A 350||Advanced Arabic II - undergraduate||3 cr||Morkus, N.|
|NELC-A 450||Advanced Arabic IV - undergraduate||3 cr||Morkus, N.|
|NELC-A 550||Elementary Arabic II - graduate||2 cr||Staff|
|NELC-A 650||Intermediate Arabic II - graduate||3 cr||Staff|
|NELC-A 670||Advanced Arabic II - graduate||3 cr||Morkus, N.|
|NELC-A 690||Advanced Arabic IV - graduate||3 cr||Morkus, N.
|NELC-H 502||Elementary Hebrew II||3 cr||Cover, L.|
|NELC-H 503||Intermediate Modern Hebrew I||3 cr||Weiss, A.|
|NELC-H 504||Intermediate Modern Hebrew II||3 cr||Staff|
|NELC-H 506||Advanced Modern Hebrew II||3 cr||Maoz-Levy, M.
|NELC-N 303/695||Muslim Spain: An Introduction||3 cr||González Diéguez, G.|
|NELC-N 303/695||Jewish Philosophy in the Medieval World||3 cr||González Diéguez, G.|
|PHIL-P 301||Medieval Philosophy||3 cr||Wood, R.|
|REL-A 318||Rabbinic Judaism: Literature and Beliefs||3 cr||Mokhtarian, J.|
|REL-A 450||Pilgrims and Exiles: Late-Ancient & Early-Medieval Imaginings of Travel, Territory & Identity||3 cr||Schott, J.|
|MEST-M 200||Dante’s Divine Comedy
A thorough reading of Dante's influential masterpiece of retributive justice in its historical and cultural contexts, including Dino Compagni's unfinished and subsequently suppressed chronicle of Florence up to the death of Henry VII, as well as the artistic movements, economics, ethics, and politics of his day, which still influence Italian society.
This course examines six classics of Western philosophy that explore the puzzles facing a believer seeking to lead a good life and to understand herself and her world. They present a theory of will and human motivation, a theory of ethics based on the agent's intention, and a theory of divine omniscience and omnipotence consistent with divine goodness and human freedom.
Augustine, On Free choice of the Will, tr. T. Williams, Hackett 1993.
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, tr. P. Walsh, Oxford 2000.
Anselm: The Major Works, Oxford World's Classics 1998.
Abelard, Ethical Writings, tr. P. Spade, Hackett 1995.
Ockham, On the Connection of the Virtues, tr. R. Wood, Purdue 1997.
|Western Europe: The High and Late Middle Ages
This course "covers" the period from roughly 1050 to roughly 1450 in Western Europe. But rather than trying to give you a complete overview of this long period in a very superficial way in 15 weeks (if this is January, we're talking about heresy), I've chosen five scholarly books on different topics that offer different approaches to this fascinating period and provide you with some depth. In addition, each student will work on a guided research project that will take him or her on an individual journey into the medieval past.
Content: Students who take this course will develop a greater understanding of the experiences of medieval people, how governments came to be; about the development of city life and culture; and about the transition from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern World.
Historical Thinking: Many students think that history is merely a list of “facts” about the past. Other students understand that history is more than that, that historians both reconstruct and interpret the past, but generally students have had little opportunity to understand how or to do it themselves. This course has been designed to provide you with explicit instruction in historical argument, which will consist of practice in recognizing historical arguments and interpretations, in analyzing how these arguments are being made and on the basis of what evidence, and in constructing one historical argument of your own.
Assessments: Students will build and demonstrate these skills through weekly homeworks, in a concept map of their projects and in their final projects.
|MEST-M 390||Later Latin Literature in Translation: Heroism in the Latin Middle Ages
This course will examine the literature of heroism in medieval Latin literature. Beginning with a discussion of the classical inheritance (e.g., Hercules, Aeneas), we will focus on the varieties of heroic portrayals and heroic literature from late antiquity through the high middle ages. Topics will include developments in epic poetry, Christian heroism and hagiography, Germanic and Celtic heroism, the growth of courtliness, the Alexander-legend, scholars and other anti-heroes, and the reception of classical heroic ideals. All readings in English; grade based on three analytical essays and class participation.
|MEST-M 490||Romanesque Art
This course will survey the flowering of art and architecture following the end of the Viking invasions of Europe. The medieval pilgrimage, the cult of relics, the Crusades, feudalism, the investiture crisis, and the growth of female patronage all contributed to the appearance of new types of artwork in the period between 1000 and 1200. Heresy, medieval views of sin and vice, and the writings of mystics guided the invention of new subjects in art. The recovery of Roman building techniques and the innovations of medieval builders led to the development of new kinds of church architecture, complementing the economic recovery of the eleventh century. Lectures and class discussion will seek to put phenomena such as the growth of the great monastic church, the emergence of the Giant Bible and the appearance of apocalyptic portal sculptures into their historical context.
|MEST-M 502||Boccaccio & Petrarch
This course examines the composition, genesis and early reception of three classics of 14th-century Italian narrative: Compagni's Cronica, Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, and Boccaccio's Decameron. NB: Class will be taught in Italian.
|Constructing the Self in Medieval European Literature
This semester, we will explore what medieval lyrics, plays, and narratives -- both courtly and devotional texts -- can reveal to us about the role of performance in constructing identity and community in medieval European cultures. We will examine such topics as the relationship of musical and dramatic performance of verbal texts to the visual arts, the representation of reading as performance, and the construction of gender and faith as performance. Our common readings will include lyrics poems by Yehuda Halevi, Hildegard von Bingen, Lombarda de Toulouse, Walther von der Vogelweide, Alfonso X, and Guillaume de Machaut; plays such as Abraham, Aucassin and Nicolette, The N-Town Mary Play, and The Second Shepherds’ Play; and narratives such as The Song of the Cid, The Romance of Silence, the Decameron, The City of Ladies, and The Book of Margery Kempe. Students will prepare two class presentations on critical or theoretical readings and complete an individual research project on the role of performance in a medieval text of their choice.
|CEUS-R 399/599||Sources on Medieval Central Eurasia: The Golden Age
This course introduces the major literary sources for the Golden Age of Central Eurasia, the Middle Ages. It covers works originally written in Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Persian, Tibetan, Turkic, and other languages, and teaches students how to use them and the secondary scholarly literature on them, both in English and in the original languages. These “primary” sources are mostly literary texts (though attention is also paid to major inscriptions), which together constitute the main sources for historical and other research on medieval Central Eurasia, and are also some of the greatest, most interesting, and valuable works of each literary-cultural tradition. The works covered are devoted to one or another “disciplinary” topic, such as ethnography, history, geography, philosophy, and so on, but the course focus is on works useful for history in general. Because skill in handling and understanding early texts as texts is a requirement for anyone doing serious work with them, the course will train students in the methodology of critical text edition, as well as in general philological method.
No foreign language knowledge is required. The only specific requirement is a desire to read and learn how to use the sources on the fascinating Golden Age of Central Eurasian culture.
|EALC-E 201||The Beauty of Violence and War in the Medieval Japanese War Tales
Chronicles and war tales from the Japanese Middle Ages (ca. 1000-1600) abound with colorful descriptions of violence. At times the violence is described as wanton and gory destruction, at other times killing and maiming is depicted in distinctly aesthetic terms of beauty and serenity. During the course we will analyze how and why violent narratives changed focus through the medieval period, and we will engage broader theoretical approaches to the study of violent narratives. Finally, we will discuss violence as an act of communication in itself and (perhaps) challenge our own modern perceptions of what violence is and does.
|EALC-E 352||The Mongol Invasions of Japan 1274 and 1281
Combined Mongol and Chinese fleets attempted twice to attack and conquer Japan by the end of the thirteenth century. In the traditional narrative of these events, the fleets have been described as the largest fleets in history up until the Allied invasion of Normandy during WW2. Recent research has questioned this image, however, and during the course we will address this scholarly controversy. We will look closer at the general Mongol conquest of East Asia and discuss the possible reasons for why the equestrian Mongols decided for an extremely costly and ultimately disastrous invasion of the Japanese islands. We will also look at how the invasions influenced politics in Japan and the perception of Japan as a divinely protected country.
|ENG-L 305 (Ingham)||Chaucer
“The Canterbury Tales, though written seven hundred years ago, can still make us laugh, make us ponder, and makes us look up sometimes from the page with a wild surmise,” according to Chaucer scholar, Donald Howard. This course will introduce you to that collection of tales by Geoffrey Chaucer with the aim of provoking the kind of wild surmise, laughter, and rumination to which Howard alludes. We read Chaucer in Middle English with help from various online guides to pronunciation and translation, and even a modern rap version of the tales. The more provocative strains of Chaucer’s work, such as his interest in gender and sexuality, medieval religious debates, and political crises, will occupy the focus of our literary encounter with this fabulous text. In addition, this course will lay to rest any preconceptions you might have about the boring or backwards Middle Ages in favor of a more informed appreciation of the complexity of many of the issues Chaucer addresses in his text. The sheer artistry of Chaucer’s narrative, as well as its innovative attention to persons across a spectrum of medieval society will also provide us opportunities for another kind of “wild surmise,” namely, about connections to be made between his medieval text and our own contemporary culture.
|ENG-L 305 (Lochrie)||Chaucer
“The Canterbury Tales, though written seven hundred years ago, can still make us laugh, make us ponder, and makes us look up sometimes from the page with a wild surmise,” according to Chaucer scholar, Donald Howard. This course will introduce you to that collection of tales by Geoffrey Chaucer with the aim of provoking the kind of wild surmise, laughter, and rumination to which Howard alludes. We read Chaucer in Middle English with help from various online guides to pronunciation and translation, and even a modern rap version of the tales. The more provocative strains of Chaucer’s work, such as his interest in gender and sexuality, medieval religious debates, and political crises, will occupy the focus of our literary encounter with this fabulous text. In addition, this course will lay to rest any preconceptions you might have about the boring or backwards Middle Ages in favor of a more informed appreciation of the complexity of many of the issues Chaucer addresses in his text. The sheer artistry of Chaucer’s narrative, as well as its innovative attention to persons across a spectrum of medieval society will also provide us opportunities for another kind of “wild surmise,” namely, about connections to be made between his medieval text and our own contemporary culture. The course will require two 5-7-page papers, a midterm and exam, and translation and reading quizzes. . . and a capacity for wild surmise.
|FRIT-F 306||Roman et Poésie
« Histoires d’amour, en prose et en vers »
Dans ce cours qui traite de l’amour--de ses idéaux et ses trahisons, de ses réussites et ses échecs--nous lirons trois romans du vingtième siècle, ainsi qu’une variété de poèmes. Nous commencerons par un « polar », ou roman policier : Piège pour Cendrillon (1965) de Sébastien Japrisot, récit d’une tentative mystérieuse de meurtre. A l’intérieur des conventions mêmes du genre policier, pourtant, une histoire d’amour se profile presque trop discrètement. Passant ensuite à un roman québécois--Les chambres de bois (1958) d’Anne Hébert--, nous constaterons le conflit déclenché par des différences de classe sociale dans une culture traditionnelle et rigide : différences qu’un jeune aristocrate et une femme du peuple tentent de surmonter à travers leur amour. Nous terminerons le semestre avec une autofiction de Marguerite Duras--L’Amant (1984)--, inspiré d’une liaison que l’auteur a vécue pendant son adolescence en Indochine française : relation qui met en jeu des différences de race, de classe sociale, et de nationalité, dans un contexte colonial et exotique. Notre étude de L’Amant sera amplifiée et interrogée par une comparaison avec certaines scènes du film du même titre. Intercalés parmi nos romans différents seront des poèmes de la Renaissance (Louise Labé), du 19ème siècle (Baudelaire) et du 20ème siècle (Jules Supervielle, Catherine Pozzi, Guillaume Apollinaire, Louis Aragon, Paul Eluard, Anne Hébert). La note finale sera pondérée comme suit : participation active à la discussion en classe (10%), participation régulière aux forums électroniques (10%) ; exposé oral (10%) ; examen partiel (« midterm ») (20%) ; dissertation (25%) ; examen final (25 %).
|GER-G 636||Old Icelandic Literature
Medieval Icelandic poetic and prose literary texts: history of the literature and of literary scholarship. During the semester, we will focus on one saga and some shorter texts that will be read/translated in class (including the accompanying poetry). Special attention will be paid to linguistic peculiarities. The course will also contain an overview of Old Norse literary scholarship in general and also of certain aspects of linguistics scholarship. There will be no exams, but a final paper is required (topics to be discussed). Students will be expected to give oral presentations on the secondary sources on the reading list. Prerequisite: G635 or the equivalent.
|HIST-H 206||Medieval Civilization
The Middle Ages spans more than a thousand years, from approximately 400 to 1500 AD, and includes the many different political, cultural, and ethnic communities of Europe and the Mediterranean. There was not one medieval civilization, but many medieval civilizations, related in some ways to each other, but distinct and constantly changing. This class will be an introduction to the history of the Middle Ages through its culture and ways of life.
Because the period to be covered is so vast, we will focus our attention on six moments in time and space that are representative of some of the communities of the Middle Ages. We will look at villages and cathedral towns, monasteries and manor houses and cities, and for each, we will consider who lived in the community, what activities they took part in, what the community looked like physically, and what aspects of medieval life, politics, and culture are represented there. Students will read short selections from primary sources and use them to complete four short (2-3 page) written exercises/papers; there will also be a midterm and a final exam.
This lecture course concentrates on the rebirth of literature, history, moral philosophy, and the fine arts in Europe from about 1300 to 1600. We shall first look at the economic and social causes and context of this rebirth, with the development of Italian cities in the later Middle Ages. Next we shall take up the humanist movement and new theories concerning education, economic activity, ethics, politics, history, and the fine arts. Toward the end of the course we shall turn to the spread of the Renaissance to northern Europe. The course will focus on weekly reading assignments in primary sources (merchants' diaries, humanist works, Machiavelli, and others). The course will include a visit to the IU Art Museum and perhaps to the Lilly Library. Careful reading in primary sources is emphasized; a map quiz, two short papers, two hourlies, and a final are required.
The course will focus on the major religious controversies of the sixteenth century. We will study the social and political causes of the Reformation; the intellectual background, both the humanist movement and late-medieval religious developments; and the Protestant Reformation (especially Luther and Calvin), the Radical Reformation (especially the Anabaptists), and the Counter-Reformation (Loyola and others). Some attention will be given to the Dutch and French wars of religion, the politiques, and the Scientific Revolution. There will be a map quiz, two short papers, a midterm, and a final. The reading load will be rather heavy.
|HIST-C205||Intro to Islamic Civilization
The aim of this course is to survey the rise and expansion of Islam and the Muslim polities and societies between ca. 500-1500. In the first half of the course, we will cover the political history of the period. In the second half, we will study the emergence and development of the Islamic culture and thought. The idea behind the organization of the course in this particular way is, first of all, to provide the students with a good grasp of the main events of the history of Islam up to 1500, and then familiarize them with the foundations of Islamic thought, the development of Islamic cultures, and the creation of a global Islamic civilization. Course requirements include attendance, a quiz, a midterm, a final, and a short paper.
|HIST-J300||Istanbul through the Ages
This course will survey the history of Constantinople/Istanbul and its inhabitants, from the city’s days as the capital of the Byzantine Empire to its recent rise as a global financial and cultural hub. Throughout the course, we will discuss the relationship between empire-building and religion (the city served as the center of Orthodox Christianity as well as the capital of a Sunni Muslim empire); the dynamics of multi-ethnic and multi-religious empires and cities; the role of cities in fostering global political and economic connections; the creative uses of urban spaces throughout history; and the urban transformations brought by modernity and capitalism. Course requirements include attendance, active participation in classroom discussion, a book review, a bibliography, and a final paper.
|HIST-T500||Contact and Exchange across Eurasia, from Ancient Times through the Mongol Empire
This course, for graduate students, will follow the exploits of men who made long-distance journeys across large expanses of Eurasia that traversed at some point the Central Eurasian portion of the continent. We will be particularly interested in the purposes behind these travels, the contacts made, and the long-term consequences of the exchanges that took place, whether economic, religious, or political. To the extent possible, we will be reading and discussing the records compiled for these travels. Among those on whom we will focus are Faxian (China to India, 399-412), Xuanzang (China to India, 629-645), ibn Fadlan (Baghdad to Bulghar, 921-923), ibn Battuta (Mecca to Central Asia), Afanasii Nikitin (Tver to India, 1466-1472), Marco Polo (Venice to China, 1271-1295), Bento de Gois (Agra to Jiuquan, 1602-1607), Giovanni da Pian del Carpine (Lyon to Karakorum, 1245-1247), Anthony Jenkinson (Moscow to Bukhara, 1561), Adam Olearius (Hamburg to Esfahan, 1635-1637), and Evliya Çelebi (Crimea and Caucasus, 1640, 1664, 1667-1670).
|HON-H 235||Monks, Nuns and Medieval Art
Since the foundation of the Christian Church, when men and women first sought to live apart from popular society and devote their lives entirely to religion, monks and nuns have influenced heavily the development of Medieval art and architecture. Early monks and nuns lived as hermits in the mountains, forests and deserts. From the second or third centuries C.E., however, they gathered together to live communally in organized monasteries. Like their predecessors, the hermits, these later monks and nuns claimed to live in abject poverty, but although they owned no personal possessions they often lived in communal splendor inside wealthy and well-decorated houses. Supplied with lavish churches, gleaming metalwork, sumptuous tapestries and vestments and colorful manuscripts, monasteries became the treasure houses of Europe and the targets of condemnation, arson and looting. This course will explore the phenomenon of Christian monasticism from its earliest beginnings immediately after the death of Jesus through the modern era, concentrating especially on the pinnacle of the monasticism, the Middle Ages. We will read monastic rules in translation to understand the lifestyle of the monks and nuns, and examine their artworks, including manuscripts in the Lilly Library and objects in the Indiana University Art Museum. We will also examine the phenomenon of modern monasticism, and compare it to its medieval origins.
|Rabbinic Judaism: Literature and Beliefs
The Jewish sages of late antiquity known as rabbis were masters of the Bible who produced a complex corpus of writings in which they interpret their holy scriptures. This vast collection of law and narrative, known as rabbinic literature, remains to this day the foundation of normative Jewish behavior and traditions. What did these interpreters of the Bible believe? And how was the Bible interpreted over the course of late antiquity? In seeking answers to these questions, this course introduces students to the literature and beliefs of the rabbis who lived in Palestine and Babylonia circa the second through sixth centuries C.E. and thus witnessed the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire and the presence of Zoroastrianism in the Persian Sasanian Empire. Themes covered throughout the semester include some major concepts expressed in rabbinic literature such as covenant, exile, good and evil, the election of Israel, redemption, revelation, and existence of demons and angels. Students are exposed to a wide range of primary texts from the Mishnah, Midrash, and Talmuds, though emphasis is placed on their narrative portions known as aggadah. Secondary readings include introductory textbooks as well as research articles or books that engage some of the major problems in the field of rabbinics. This course is a natural sequel to any course on the Hebrew Bible, though no background in biblical studies or ancient Judaism is necessary.
|Muslim Spain: An Introduction
This course offers an overview of the history of Muslim Spain, a period in which a unique culture of living-togetherness flourished in Europe under Islamic rule. The course will follow the chronological sequence of events, from the conquest in 711 until the fall of the kingdom of Granada in 1492, and beyond, closing with a critical examination of the memory evoked by al-Andalus and its role in contemporary culture. Particular attention will be paid to cultural and social aspects, such as the intellectual production and the status of religious minorities. From a methodological perspective, this course provides a close analysis of a pre-modern case of a multiculturalism and its shortcomings within the frame of Islam, serving as an enlightening case-study for those interested in the larger questions of multiculturalism and religious pluralism.
|NELC-N 303||Jewish Philosophy in the Medieval World
This course presents an introduction to Jewish philosophy in the Middle Ages in its Mediterranean context. Our journey begins with an overview of the classical texts of Greek philosophy preserved in the Eastern Arabic translations. It follows the transmission of philosophical tradition to the Islamic West, which enabled the “golden age” of al-Andalus, and its later passage into the Christian lands of northern Spain and southern France. The course deals with the relation of Jewish philosophy with various intellectual trends like Muslim theology (kalam), Sufism, poetry, historiography, kabbalah, and religious polemic, through the analysis of primary sources by Saadia al-Fayyumi, Abraham ibn Daud, Bahya ibn Paquda, Shlomo ibn Gabirol, Judah Halevi, Maimonides, Shlomo ibn Adret, Abraham Abulafia, Gersonides and Hasday Crescas.
|REL-A 450||Pilgrims and Exiles: Late-Ancient & Early-Medieval Imaginings of Travel, Territory & Identity
This course uses a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to interrogate late-ancient and early-Medieval pilgrimage journals, conquest narratives, and geographical texts (with a special emphasis on texts related to Roman Palestine). Students will consider how the experience of travel and the literary construction of "imagined geographies" shaped ethnic, national, religious, or gendered identities, and explore how travel served to construct and maintain ideologies of power. We will also consider the writings of those who did not travel, but who resided at the borders and limits of late-ancient/early Medieval culture and society (e.g. ascetics who abandoned the cities for the desert, Jews in Diaspora communities, Syriac Christians living under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates). Students will also be encouraged to consider relationships between historical that lie behind contemporary spatial and territorial imaginings of the modern Mediterranean and Near East.