COMPLIT 490 - Comparative Cultural Studies
Section: 001 Europe's Islam: A Cultural History of Islam from Dante to Rushdie
Term: FA 2010
Subject: Comparative Literature (COMPLIT)
Department: LSA Comparative Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Junior standing.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

Although Islam represents the second largest religion in Europe today, Islam and Europe are generally regarded as mutually exclusive. This course allows students to examine the representation of Islam in Western European literature. In the first half of the academic term, we will discuss the European literary imagination vis-à-vis Islam in early modern Europe and investigate the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fascination with the Orient. Students will read Dante's Inferno, Shakespeare’s Othello, the first eighteenth-century translation of the Arabian Nights and ask what attracted Goethe to Persian poetry. The syllabus incorporates texts that capture cross-cultural exchange processes between Judeo-Christian and Muslim worlds, including conversion narratives and literature concerning the practice of "going native" among European travelers in the Middle East.

The second half of the course is dedicated to the place of Islam in contemporary Europe. Europe’s Islam takes up some of the controversial and thought-provoking debates at the turn of the millennium. Among them is the fatwa following the publication of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, the headscarf-debate in France and Germany, and the murder of a Dutch director by a Muslim fundamentalist. A selection of German and British films will afford the opportunity to discuss honor killings and allegations of blasphemy and heresy in Europe. This course offers students new pathways of thinking about the historical relationship between Islam and Europe and discusses the present-day demand that Muslims Westernize, integrate, and assimilate.

The course counts towards an academic minor in Modern European Studies.

COMPLIT 490 - Comparative Cultural Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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