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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Undergraduate Course: Islamic and Middle Eastern Cultures (IMES08051)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course offers an introduction to the literary, aesthetic and intellectual culture of the Middle East, from the eve of Islam to the modern period. It explores the diverse influences which shaped cultural development during the classical period of Islamic civilization, and assesses the cultural transmissions, conflicts and cross-pollinations which have characterized the interaction between the Muslim world and the West. The course also provides an introduction to the most important resources and scholarly tools used in studying Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures.

The lectures on this course are NOT RECORDED.
Course description The course enables students to place the development of Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures in historical and intellectual context. It investigates the influences which shaped cultural development in the Middle East, from the eve of Islam to the modern period, and identifies key concepts in the study of the art, architecture, literature, philosophy and science of the Muslim world. It also provides students with the means to investigate questions relating to Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures and to pursue research projects in this field.

Outline of contents: The course explores the diverse influences which shaped the development of art, architecture, literature, philosophy, science and medicine during the classical period of Islamic civilisation. These include the cultural heritages of pre-Islamic Arabia and Sassanid Persia, as well as the philosophical and scientific legacies of India, Egypt and the Hellenistic world. The course also examines the varied interactions between Arabic and Persian culture, the cultural manifestations of Islamic mysticism, and the impact of modern Western thought, culture and colonialism on the art and literature of the modern Middle East.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  90
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 178 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2000-word Essay 50%,
Seminar Participation 15%,
1000-word Time-Limited Assignment 35%.

Feedback Verbal or written feedback on class assignments, written feedback on the essay and the time-limited assignment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of key terms and concepts in the study of Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures.
  2. Evaluate the cultural transmissions and interactions that have characterized the development of Middle Eastern cultures from the dawn of Islam to the present day.
  3. Critically assess scholarly resources (e.g. Encyclopaedia of Islam, JSTOR) to identify the most relevant literature relating to the culture of Islam and the Middle East.
  4. Critically assess secondary literature on various aspects of Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures.
  5. Develop well-structured and informed arguments on issues related to Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures, and communicate them orally and in writing.
Reading List
Adamson, Peter, Philosophy in the Islamic World: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford) 2015
Adamson, Peter and Richard C. Taylor (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy (Cambridge) 2005
Allen, Roger, An introduction to Arabic literature (Cambridge) 2000
Allen, Roger and D.S. Richards (eds.), Arabic Literature in the Post-Classical Period, Vol. 6 of the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature (Cambridge) 2006
Ashtiany, Julia et al. (eds.), 'Abbasid belles-lettres, Vol. 2 of the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature (Cambridge) 1990
Beeston, A.F.L. et al. (eds.), Arabic literature to the end of the Umayyad period, Vol. 1 of the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature (Cambridge) 1983
Behrens-Abouseif, Doris, Islamic Architecture in Cairo: an introduction (Leiden) 1989
Bray, Julia (ed.), Writing and representation in medieval Islam (London) 2006
Brend, Barbara, Islamic Art (London) 1995
De Bruijn, J.T.P (ed.) General introduction to Persian literature (New York) 2009
De Bruijn, J.T. P. 1997 Persian Sufi Poetry: An Introduction to the Mystical Use of Classical Persian Poems (London) 1997
Gorman, Anthony and Sossie Kasbarian (eds.), Diasporas of the modern Middle East: contextualising community (Edinburgh) 2015
Gugler, Josef (ed.), Film in the Middle East and North Africa: Creative Dissidence (Austin) 2011
Gutas, Dimitri, Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: the Graeco-Arabic translation movement in Baghdad and early 'Abbaasid society (2nd-4th/8th-10th centuries), (London) 1998
Hayes, J.R. (ed.), The Genius of Arab Civilization: Source of Renaissance (New York) 1983
Hefner, Robert W. (ed.), Muslims and modernity: culture and society since 1800, Vol. 6 of the New Cambridge History of Islam (Cambridge) 2011
Hill, Donald, Islamic Science and Engineering (Edinburgh) 2001
Hillenbrand, Robert, Islamic Architecture: form, function and meaning (Edinburgh) 2000
Hoag, John D., Islamic Architecture (London) 1975
Hourani, Albert, A History of the Arab Peoples (London) 1991
Hourani, Albert, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age (Cambridge) 1983
Irwin, Robert, Islamic Art (London) 1997
Irwin, Robert, ed., Islamic cultures and societies to the end of the eighteenth century, Vol. 4 of the New Cambridge History of Islam (Cambridge) 2007
Jayyusi, Salma Khadra (ed.), The Legacy of Muslim Spain (Leiden) 1992
Jones, Alan, Early Arabic Poetry. Volume 1 (Reading) 1992
Jones, Alan, Early Arabic Poetry. Volume 2 (Reading) 1996
Kennedy, Philip, The Wine Song in Classical Arabic Poetry (Oxford) 1997
Knysh, Alexander, Islamic Mysticism: A Short History (Leiden) 2000
Leaman, Oliver, Islamic Aesthetics: an introduction (Edinburgh) 2004
Monroe, J.T. 'Oral Composition in Pre-Islamic Poetry', Journal of Arabic Literature 3 (1972), pp. 1-53
Montgomery, James E., The vagaries of the Qasidah: tradition and practice in early Arabic poetry (Cambridge) 1997
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, Science and Civilisation in Islam (Cambridge) 1987
Pormann, Peter and Emilie Savage-Smith, Medieval Islamic Medicine (Edinburgh) 2007
Prochazka, Amjad Bohumil, Introduction to Islamic Architecture (Zurich) 1986
Rashed, R., ed., Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science (London) 1996
Robinson, Francis (ed.), The Islamic world in the age of Western dominance, Vol. 5 of the New Cambridge History of Islam (Cambridge) 2011
Starkey, Paul, Modern Arabic Literature (Edinburgh) 2006
Todd, Richard, 'Alchemical Poetry in Almohad Morocco: the Shudhur al-dhahab of Ibn Arfa' Ra's', Oriens: Journal of Philosophy, Theology and Science in Islamic Societies 44.1 (2016)
Van Gelder, Classical Arabic Literature: a library of Arabic literature anthology (New York) 2013
Watt, W. Montgomery, The majesty that was Islam: the Islamic world, 661-1100 (London) 1974
Watt, W. Montgomery and Pierre Cachia, A History of Islamic Spain (Edinburgh) 1977
Young, M.J.L., J.D. Latham, and R.B. Serjeant (eds.), Religion, learning and science in the 'Abbasid period, Vol. 3 of the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature (Cambridge) 1990
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will benefit from the development of applied and generic cognitive skills at the SCQF level 8. These include being able to undertake a critical analysis and synthesis of core concepts associated with the literary, aesthetic and intellectual cultures of Islam and the Middle East, as well as using a range of approaches to formulate evidence-based responses to routine issues connected with the field under study. Students' communication skills will also develop through oral presentation/discussion and written assignments. These skills are transferable to professional settings.
KeywordsArabia,Sassanid Persia,Islamic art,architecture,philosophy,science,medicine,Arabic,Persian
Course organiserDr Ines Asceric-Todd
Tel: (0131 6)50 6814
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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