The writing of the history of the Middle East has often been imagined with the beginning of Islam, this course starting point aims at shifting this by examining the regional history prior to Islam, and focuses on ways of cultural and theological interactions between Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
The course serves as an introduction to the history of the diverse Christian populations and churches of the Middle East. With a focus on the Armenians and the Armenian Church, the course presents Armenian history of the region from the vantage point of cultural and social co-existence, as well theological interaction between various denominations of the region with a particular emphasis on Christian history under Arabo-Muslim polities to try to map the patterns of exchange and coexistence between various populations of the region. The aim is to bring to the surface the silenced chapters in the region’s history that challenge the writing of the region’s history as one of conflict between groups.
Students will gain knowledge about the:
- Theological and liturgical similarities/differences between churches in the Middle East.
- Survey of Armenian history.
- The relationship between the Armenian church on one hand and Arab and Syriac churches on the other.
- The Middle East on the Eve of Islam.
- Armenians, Arab, and Syriac Christians under various Arabo-Muslim polities.
- Cultural mosaic of co-existence and conflict in Ottoman Empire.
- Jews, Muslims, and Christians on the rise of ethno-religious nationalism in the Balkans and Middle East.
- Current events surrounding Armenians and other Christians in the Middle East.
This course received the University Musical Society (UMS) Winter 2017 Course
Development Grant. Students registered in this course will be attending 2 UMS
performances as part of their course work.
Undergraduates interested Middle Eastern Christianity, Armenian history, and alternative approaches to studying the Middle East
Combination of lectures and class discussions.