AAPTIS 261 - The Civilization of Medieval Islam
Section: 001
Term: FA 2007
Subject: Arabic, Armenian, Persian, Turkish, and Islamic Studies (AAPTIS)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Taught in English.
Other Course Info:
Taught in English.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course describes the splendid culture and civilization of the Islamic world, from the beginning until the rise of the Ottoman Empire (ca. 600-1300). It introduces students to Islamic achievements in the arts and humanities, including poetry, artistic prose, historical writing, music, architecture, painting, ceramics and calligraphy; and also in the exact sciences, including mathematics, astronomy, geography and medicine. It emphasizes the fact that that these were collective achievements, made by people from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The course does not provide a chronological presentation of the political and religious history of the Islamic world. Instead, it is organized around the following six locales:

  1. The desert. Mapping Arabia: how to survive and find your way. The poets and their themes of ruins, lost love, generosity and heroism. Disciplining the self: “the desert a city.” Men and the veil.
  2. The court. Palaces and their floor-plans. Praising the monarch. The etiquette, theory and practice of falling in love. Music and its modes. The importance of having good handwriting. Tragic destinies of the bureaucrats (scribes).
  3. The salon. Sessions held for learning, listening, performing and drinking: their timing and layout. Participants in these sessions: female and male, slave and free. Hetero- and homosexuality. The “Renaissance of Islam.” The sense of self, in biography and autobiography. Access to knowledge in an information age.
  4. The marketplace. Mapping the great cities. Ideals and realities of consumption and exchange, poverty and wealth. Books, textiles, carpets, ceramics and other commodities.
  5. The road. Mapping the routes that extend across the world. The environment, natural and human. The quest for knowledge. Ill-gotten gains: identity theft, beating the odds, abusing the kindness of strangers.
  6. The frontier. Different ways of visualizing the frontier. Islamic history viewed as a series of frontier societies. Soldiers and armies. Strangers and deviants. Inclusion and exclusion, both within and across the boundaries of the Islamic world.

No prerequisites. Readings will consist mainly of original sources in English translation. Students will be required to write a series of short papers on these readings. There will be a midterm examination and a final. Four credits, including one discussion hour.

AAPTIS 261 - The Civilization of Medieval Islam
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
M 11:00AM - 1:00PM
W 11:00AM - 12:00PM
002 (DIS)
W 12:00PM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
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.

No Syllabi are on file for AAPTIS 261. Click the button below to search for a different syllabus (UM login required)

Search for Syllabus
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)