HIST 2503.03: Medieval Islamic Civilization.
This course will introduce students to the Perso- Levantine world at the time of Muhammad's prophecy in the 7th century, and how the Arabian Peninsula was impacted by the creation and emergence of an Islamic society in Medina and Mecca. With the displacing of Byzantine control in the Holy Land and the collapse of the Sasanian Empire in Persia, the Arab-centric society of Mecca and Medina had become an empire of unprecedented size and ethnic complexity. The class will examine the respective Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, as well as the slave states of the Saljuqs and Mamluks. The final portion of the course will focus on the gunpowder empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals. The central theme of this course will be an examination of the Islamic community, or umma, from its earliest days and how it interacted over the next thousand years with different surrounding traditions and cultures in the Mediterranean, the Iranian Plateau, the Caucasus, the Steppe, India, and Southeast Asia. Another important theme will be the study of how various Islamic societies understood and resolved the age-old dynamic between tribal nomadism and hierarchical urbanism.
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