The formative period of Islam, from its origins in the late antique Near East to the fall of Baghdad in the mid-13th century. This course serves to build a solid foundation in Middle East and Islamic Studies, giving students an understanding of the key topics, events, movements and figures in medieval Islamic history. The major early Islamic dynasties (including the Umayyads, Abbasids, Buyids, and Fatimids) are covered, with attention to broader themes of importance, such as historiography, change and continuity, imperial power and politics, revolt and resistance, religious authority and tradition, cultural and intellectual developments, military organization and slavery, and the encounters between nomadic and sedentary peoples. Students will also gain an awareness of the sources and methods available for the study of Islamic history, the challenges they pose for modern historians, various interpretive approaches in using them, and the debates they have inspired in the scholarship.
The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (History, Religion)