MIDEAST 291 - Humanities Topics in Middle East Studies
Fall 2020, Section 001 - Medieval Egypt, 640-1517
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Middle East Studies (MIDEAST)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:


The Arab conquest of Egypt (639-641) spun Egypt out of the orbit of Constantinople and the Byzantine empire. With the Ottoman seizure of power in 1517, Egypt was once more the appanage of Constantinople (henceforth Istanbul). “Medieval Egypt” therefore covers the period of Egypt’s rise to political preeminence in its own right, with Cairo being for two centuries the seat of the third Islamic caliphate. No longer imperial province, Egypt became a center and crossroads for commerce, for the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish ‘Peoples of the Book’, for scholarship and learning, for nomadic Bedouin, Nile villagers, and cosmopolitan Cairenes, as well as for Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Turks, and Sudanese. This course will proceed chronologically, addressing the achievements and challenges of the major dynasties, with special focus on how persons and communities found their place in the cultural and religious mosaic of the region. Topics for investigation and discussion will include : the institutional forms of political governance, the relations between faith communities, the communicative intent of the arts and architecture in a society of different faiths and cultures, and education and learning under medieval Egypt’s Shi’ite and Sunni dynasties. Readings will include both secondary texts and primary sources.

Course Requirements:

Participation in class discussions, quizzes, three written assignments (approx. 3 pages) based on the readings, a research project combining visual and written parts (3- 5 pages), and a take-home final examination.

Intended Audience:

All are welcome, though students should have familiarity with the reading and analysis of historical sources. Prior coursework in African or Middle Eastern history is not a pre-requisite.

Class Format:

A combination of lecture and discussion, based on close readings of assigned sources. Instruction is remote and synchronous. Enrolled students are expected to be available remotely during scheduled class times. Course is open to remote-only students.


MIDEAST 291 - Humanities Topics in Middle East Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Note: Section 001, Medieval Egypt. Instruction is remote and will be taught synchronously. Enrolled students are expected to be available remotely during scheduled class times.
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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