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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Medieval Islamic Empires (HIST10352)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology 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
SummaryIslam today excites many passions and controversies. In the Modern world no other religion has been more scrutinised, subject to misconceptions or the apparent cause of much global conflict. Under the 'clash of civilisations' thesis Islam is presented as a monolithic creed that defies logic and rational explanation. Yet the history of Islam demonstrates a myriad of traditions, societies and pluralist interpretations. The study of medieval Islam will provide students the opportunity to reflect upon a period of history that was instrumental to global developments and in the making of Europe.
Course description The Islamic world spanned an enormous geographical region from the Bay of Bengal to the Atlantic Ocean. The development of Islam and the medieval world it gave birth to is a history of diversity, scientific advance and intellectual ferment. Islamic rulers both conquered lands thus unifying peoples under a pan-Islamist entity but their empires were also the product of incorporation and synthesis.
The main aim of this course is to examine the history of Islam as it spread across Arabia to Persia and India in the east, through the Levant to the outskirts of Vienna in the north and through North Africa to Spain in the west. The period under study will begin with the high point of Islamic expansion under the Umayyad and Abbasid empires and then focus on the period of transition and fragmentation that followed, including the proliferation of different sects and branches of Islam. This will be followed by an examination of three major dynasties: Safavid Persia; Mughal India; and the Ottoman Empire. The chronological framework will have distilled themes for exploration, which will be examined in term two. These will include the development and exchange of ideas, technological innovations, spread of material culture and science and learning, role of women and religious minorities and the place of art. The course will end with a consideration of the contribution of Islamic thought and philosophy to the modern world.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503767).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Patricia Crone, 'The Rise of Islam in the World' in Francis Robinson (ed.), The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World (Cambridge, 1996)
____________ Medieval Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh 2004)
Albert Hourani, History of the Arab Peoples (London, 2005)
Francis Robinson, Atlas of the Islamic World since 1500 (Phaidon, Oxford 1982)
_____________ The Mughal Emperors and the Islamic Dynasties of India, Iran and Central Asia 1206-1925. (Thames & Hudson, London, 2007)
Ira Lapidus, History of Islamic Societies, (Cambridge, 2002)
Bernard Lewis (ed.), The World of Islam: faith, people, culture (London 1992)
Gustave Edmund von Grunebaum, Medieval Islam: a study in cultural orientation (Chicago, 1946)
Josef W. Meri (ed.), Medieval Islamic Civilisation: an encyclopedia (London 2005)
Maxime Rodinson, Muhammed (London 1996)
Chris Harman, A People's History of the World, (London, 2008) Part 3, chapter 4
Marshall Hodgson, Venture of Islam (Chicago, 1974) 3 vols.
Hugh Kennedy, (ed.), An Historical Atlas of Islam, (Leiden, 2002)
_____________ The Great Arab conquests: how the spread of Islam changed the world we live in, (London, 2007)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students wiil acquire an enhanced capacity to:
1. Grapple with complexity and historical argumentation
2. Integrate material from a range of sources in order to make reasoned arguments across regional boundaries.
3. A capacity to use theoretical insights to make sense of concrete historical circumstances
4. Improved presentational skills through seminar presentations and essay-writing

KeywordsMedieval Islamic
Course organiserDr Talat Ahmed
Tel: (0131 6)50 3775
Course secretaryMiss Lorna Berridge
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