HISTART 285-001

Visual Cultures of Islam

MW 11:30-1:00pm
4 Credit Lecture

This course examines the visual cultures of Islam around the world from the 7th to the 20th century. Beginning with a discussion of Islam, Muhammad, the Qur'an, and a definition of "Islamic" art, we will discuss the roles and meanings of demarcating divine topography as visible in the Ka'ba in Mecca and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The rapid spread of Islam to the east and west during the 9 th- 11th centuries created a new vocabulary for Islamic art and architecture, fusing pre-existing Byzantine and Persian models with Islamic innovations. We will look at mosque and palace complexes in North Africa and southern Spain as well as in Mesopotamia and Central Asia. During the Crusades, Islam came into close contact with Europe, resulting in fascinating hybrid objects and architecture that call into question the simplistic division of "East" and "West." From the 15th to the 17th century, the three so-called gunpowder states of Anatolia (the Ottomans), Persia (the Safavids), and the Indian Subcontinent (the Mughals) created new concepts of empire, wealth, and administration in the imperial cities of Istanbul, Isfahan, and Agra. Finally, the efflorescence of visual culture in the modern period and during the recent uprisings across the Middle East will be addressed in order to gauge the socio-political purposes of images in the contemporary Islamic world.

Estimated cost of materials: $0-$50.

HISTART Concentration Distributions: 2. Medieval, 3. Early Modern, A. The Middle East.

This course fulfills the LS&A Humanities distribution requirement