RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Section: 005 Love and Conflict: Christian-Muslim Relations Around and Across the Medieval Mediterranean
Term: WN 2018
Subject: RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Department: LSA Residential College
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Repeatability:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

International events of the past several decades have elicited renewed interest in the first major period of contact between the great Christian and Muslim civilizations, which took place throughout the Mediterranean Basin from the eighth through the fifteenth centuries. The degree to which current religious conflicts can be elucidated by the events of any specific time and place is debatable, and this course does not presume to do so in any mechanistic sense. Among other reasons, the Mediterranean Muslim world during the medieval period was not monolithic, consisting of centers of power in, among other areas, Almohad Spain, Mamluk Egypt, and Seljuk Turkey. Likewise, European Christianity had earlier split into Roman and Byzantine spheres. Nonetheless, Christians and Muslims generally viewed themselves as holding starkly differentiated religious and cultural identities. This course explores points of contact and perceptual patterns between these differing worlds through the twin themes of love and conflict. Using literary and historical sources drawn mainly from the French and the Spanish traditions on the Christian side, we will examine how Christians and Muslims (or, in medieval parlance, Moors or Saracens) pursued each other both on the battlefield and in more intimate spaces. Thus we will read not just such battle-centered works as the Song of Roland and the Poem of the Cid, crusade narrative such as Jean de Joinville’s Life of St. Louis, and the parodic Pilgrimage of Charlemagne, but also accounts of inter-religious amorous attraction and coupling as recounted in such romance works of Floire and Blancheflor and Aucassin and Nicolette. Also in this vein, we will explore the case for Arabic influence on the so-called courtly love tradition in European lyric poetry, comparing the Arabic love poetry epitomized by Ibn Hazm’s The Ring of the Dove to the works of troubadour poets. Historical context will be provided by primary and secondary readings, many of them from the Islamic perspective. In several artistic interludes, moreover, we will also devote attention to the artistic qualities of medieval Christian and Islamic manuscripts, including works held in the Hatcher Library Special Collections, as well as points of commonality and difference between Christian and Islamic sacred architecture.

Course Requirements:

Coursework will consist of regular readings of manageable length and associated analytical projects. These will run the gamut from regular and informed participation buttressed by occasional short response papers to the choice of two longer or three shorter analytical papers. The term will conclude with a final exam.

Class Format:

Discussion-based seminar

RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
30880
Open
15
 
-
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (SEM)
P
25523
Open
10
10Jr>
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W 3:00PM - 6:00PM
004 (SEM)
P
21260
Open
12
5RC Ugrd
-
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
005 (SEM)
P
27838
Open
20
 
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
007 (SEM)
P
19885
Open
14
 
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Tu 2:00PM - 5:00PM
009 (SEM)
P
25892
Open
10
 
-
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
010 (SEM)
P
26257
Open
80
 
-
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
011 (SEM)
P
28380
Open
10
 
-
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
013 (SEM)
P
28939
Open
10
 
-
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
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