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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: The Arts in the Age of the Great Caliphs 650-1250 (HIAR10165)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course explores the architecture and arts of the period from roughly 650-1250, from the construction of Islam's first great monument, the Dome of the Rock, to the Mongol invasions and the Sack of Baghdad. The course is structured as a series of two-hour seminars, focusing each week on individual monuments and objects representing a variety of functions and media.
Course description This course considers the monuments and arts of the major imperial dynasties of the early and medieval Islamic empire. Our focus is the period from roughly 650, with the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty and the construction of the Dome of the Rock, to the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth-century and the infamous Sack of Baghdad. The course is organized around the cosmopolitan courts of the four early imperial dynasties (the 'great caliphates') and their allies and vassals, from North Africa to Central Asia. The emphasis of the course is on exploring the rise of Islamic art out of Antiquity and the astonishing development of an international Islamic visual language within a context of medieval global networks. Close attention will be paid to architecture and works across a range of media, and we will ask what these vibrant material and visual expressions reveal about early and medieval Islamic societies. We will consider a variety of themes, such as connections to Antiquity, visual culture as a means of self-fashioning, interchanges with non-Muslim polities, conceptions of earthly sovereignty, man's relationship with the divine, women and gender, the connections between the arts and other spheres of cultural production, etc.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR ( Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Printing: 10-20
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  21
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 24, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 150 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 2000 word essay 50% - submitted weeks 8-10
1 24 hour online exam 50%
Feedback Students are given feedback on formative assessment as follows:

You will be asked to prepare a spoken presentation to deliver to the class, and will be supported to develop this in one-to-one meeting beforehand, and will receive verbal feedback at one-to-one meeting afterwards. The presentation is designed to assist you in developing your understanding and improving your performance for the summative assessment.

Summative Assessment: Written feedback on student essays will be provided within 15 days, in addition to a one-to-one meeting.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)24 hour online examination paper0:05
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Look closely at early and medieval Islamic works of art, architecture, visual, and material culture and begin to explain why they look the way they do, their social and historical contexts, and how they relate to other areas of contemporaneous artistic production
  2. Assemble the material and textual evidence from a given socio-historical context, and use these to build independent arguments
  3. Present your own ideas clearly and well orally and in writing
  4. Prepare and organize your work effectively to deadlines
Reading List
Bloom, Jonathan. Arts of the City Victorious: Islamic Art and Architecture in Fatimid North Africa and Egypt. New Haven: Yale University Press: In Association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2007.
Dodds, Jerrilynn. Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain. New York: Distributed by H.N. Abrams, 1992.
Ettinghausen, Richard, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins. Islamic Art and Architecture 650-1250. 2nd ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.
Grabar, Oleg. The Formation of Islamic Art. Rev. and enl. ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.
Leisten, Thomas. Excavation of Samarra. Mainz am Rhein: Von Zabern, 2003.
The Umayyads: The Rise of Islamic Art. Museum With No Frontiers. Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. Beirut, Lebanon: Arab Institute for Research and Publishing, 2000.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis
Clear thinking and the development of an argument
Independent research
Presentation and communication skills
Organization and planning
Keywordsislamic art,medieval
Course organiserDr Glaire Anderson
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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