CANCELED Special Topics:Women and Slavery in Medieval Islamic Art
This class has been canceled as of June 13, 2023
Elite women from the pre-modern Islamic world wielded power by serving as patrons of art and architecture through their commissions of public fountains, decorative arts, mausolea, mosques, and more. Though images of these royal women are indeed rare, textual sources document their unique role as 'makers' of art and architecture. Enslaved women, by contrast, are often elided from the historical record, yet are frequently represented in Islamic visual culture with their images carved, painted, and otherwise crafted on the surfaces of objects and architectures. In this course, we will juxtapose the representation of enslaved women, especially entertainers (qiyan), in Islamic art with the patronage of royal women to better understand the lived experiences of these women, the societies in which they participated, and the ways our methodologies can evolve to account for these intersectional identities within the field of art history. For example, contemporary theories of gender and sexuality and critical race theory in addition to historically grounded scholarship provide the necessary framework to study the depictions of these women within their historical contexts. We will work with objects as frequently as possible in various nearby collections, including the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Toledo Museum of Art.
HISTART Concentration Distributions: Medieval, The Middle East (includes Western and Central Asia and North Africa).