The course provides an introduction to literature written in the Islamic world. The course aims to introduce students to one of the richest and most important traditions in world literature.
This course explores the classics of Islamic literature: works that have crossed geographical, historical and linguistic boundaries and made an impact on readers far from the time and place of their writing. Works studied include scripture, poetry, theology, novels, and historical works written in Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The syllabus aims at historical breadth, but is not intended to be a survey. Rather, the readings focus on two themes: justice, governance and the Islamic polity; and love, both mystical love for God and romantic love. We will study works that approach these themes from distinct and widely divergent historical, geographical and cultural perspectives, and that have proved to have global resonance — for a Muslim readership and beyond.
By the end of the term, students will acquire a sense of the historical depth and cosmopolitanism of Islamic cultures and familiarity with some of the most debated issues in the contemporary Muslim world.
All works read in English.
Two midterm exams, one final exam, weekly reading quizzes, attendance and participation
Intended for sophomores from any concentration, with an interest in or curiosity about the Arab-Islamic world. It is intended for non-majors and assumes no previous study of the Arab or Islamic world or of literature. All necessary historical background will be provided in lectures; all readings in English.
Twice weekly lectures with discussion, each 1.5 hours in length.