RELIGION 330 - The Arabian Nights
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Religion (RELIGION)
Department: LSA Studies in Religion
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The Arabian Nights [i.e., The 1001 Nights or Alf Layla wa Layla] is among the most famous pieces of world literature. At the core, though, it’s a story about scapegoating the innocent. A deranged monarch has been marrying and killing women for 1001 Nights, and Shahrazad volunteers to be the heroine to save her kingdom from his violence. In the person of Shahrazad, the audience witnesses a kind of Arabic Islamic feminism in action, a reform of patriarchy, and the power of the human voice to heal and transform society. With every story, with every night, Shahrazad saves her life and her society from the horrors of scapegoating. The narrative brings sex, madness, and death under the same roof giving the frame tale — and every story within — an exquisite dramatic intensity. Students have an opportunity to read and discuss major stories on a regular basis and identify the structures of narratives and the social functions of storytellers. In addition, we focus on medieval Arabic literary attitudes toward gender, patriarchal madness, and the predicament of love. The course ends with the 'afterlife' of the Nights: how do Euro-American authors, such as Boccaccio, Borges, Barth and Poe, receive and interpret the Nights for new audiences?

Course Requirements:

  • In Class Discussion of Readings 20%
  • 6 Research Questions (100-300 words) 20%
  • 5 Response Papers (300-500 words) 40%
  • Analysis Paper (900-1200 words) 20%

Intended Audience:


Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly

RELIGION 330 - The Arabian Nights
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0140442898
Tales from the thousand and one nights, Author: translated by N.J. Dawood ; wood engravings by William Harvey., Publisher: Penguin Reprinted 1973
ISBN: 0393331660
The Arabian Nights = Alf laylah wa-laylah, Author: translated by Husain Haddawy ; based on the text of the fourteenth-century Syrian manuscript edited by Muhsin Mahdi., Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc 2008
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