MIDEAST 285 - Visual Culture Islam
Fall 2020, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: Middle East Studies (MIDEAST)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
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Course Note:
Instruction Mode This course welcomes entirely online participation. While there will be optional in-person components, no part of this course requires you to be on campus or present in-person. This course will be taught synchronously. Learning Mode The weekly lecturers for this course will be made available synchronously.
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


Artistic and architectural activity has thrived in the lands of Islam from the seventh century until today. Under this new faith of the Judeo-Christian line, the Middle East witnessed the emergence of a creative order that built upon older traditions, including those of Byzantium and Iran. This class explore the birth and development of Islamic expressive traditions in the Arabian Peninsula, stretching out to North Africa, the Mediterranean, Iran, Turkey, Central Asia, and the Indian Peninsula. The visual cultures that have emerged in Islamic lands over more than a millennium reveal notable richness and flexibility. For example, they interact with local, regional, and global cultures, as exemplified by the portable luxury objects that crossed the Mediterranean Basin during the Crusades or paintings and prints that were traded between empires from the fifteenth century onward. For their part, architectural styles, urban plans, and even landscaping could represent religious faith and earthly cosmopolitanism, as is the case for the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Taj Mahal in India. Today, the artistic and visual cultures of lands with Muslim majority populations continue to thrive, building upon and adapting older traditions. Whether these practices engage calligraphic expression, geometric design, or figural representation, the visual cultures of Islam provide valuable insight into humans’ creativity and contributions to the world’s artistic patrimony. HISTART Concentration Distributions: A. The Middle East, 2. Medieval, 3. Early Modern. All readings available as PDFs uploaded to Canvas.

Course Requirements:

Two quizzes and one response paper (10% each): 30% Attendance and participation: 10% First exam: 30% Second exam: 30%

Intended Audience:

Anyone welcome

Class Format:

Two 80-minutes lectures and one 50-minute discussion section per week.


MIDEAST 285 - Visual Culture Islam
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (DIS)
Tu 2:00PM - 3:00PM
003 (DIS)
W 10:00AM - 11:00AM
004 (DIS)
W 11:00AM - 12:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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