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Fall 2020 Class Schedule

fall 2020 class Schedule

Course Title Instructor Day/Time Discipline
HIST 103-6-20 Caliphs and Caliphates: From the Prophet's Successors to ISIS (College Seminar) Henri Lauzière TuTh 2:40pm-4pm History
REL ST 250-0 Introduction to Islam Brannon Ingram TBA Humanities
FRENCH 365-0-20 The Maghreb and the Middle East Nasrin Qader TuTh 11:20AM - 12:40PM Humanities
JWSH_ST 280-4-1 Arabs and Jews in Palestine/The Land of Israel, 1880-1948 Maayan Hilel TuTh 1:00PM - 2:20PM History


fall 2020 course descriptions

HIST 103-6-20: Caliphs and Caliphates: From the Prophet's Successors to ISIS (College Seminar)

Six years ago, in June 2014, ISIS formally declared the establishment of a “caliphate” in eastern Syria and northern Iraq. The word was on everyone’s lips that summer, but few had a clear idea of what it meant. Is a caliphate a state or a mere religious office? What is the purpose of a caliphate in the Islamic tradition? How does one become caliph, and what is the role of a caliph anyway? Is it a kind of Muslim pope? Did ISIS’s claim to the caliphate have any credibility to begin with? These are some of the questions we will address by looking at the historical origins and development of the caliphate from the medieval period to the modern era.

REL ST 250-0: Introduction to Islam

This course introduces Islam, one of the major religious traditions of world history. We will develop a framework for understanding how Muslims in varying times and places have engaged with Islamic scripture and the prophetic message of the Prophet Muhammad through diverse sources: theological, philosophical, legal, political, mystical, literary and artistic. While we aim to grasp broad currents and narratives of Islamic history, we will especially concentrate on the origins and development of the religion in its formative period (the prophetic career of the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an, Islamic belief and ritual, Islamic law, and popular spirituality) and debates surrounding Islam in the contemporary world (the impact of European colonialism on the Muslim world, the rise of the modern Muslim state, and discourses on gender, politics and violence).

FRENCH 365-0-20 The Maghreb and the Middle East

This course focuses on the relationship between authority, in its diverse forms, and storytelling. We will begin with one of the classics of world literature, A Thousand and One Nights, whose multi-pronged history and authorship allow us to consider the relationship between works of literature and the institution of authorship and authority. We will be able to examine this question not only through the work's form and its history but also through the play of authority, power, and storytelling as its content.

In the second segment of the course, we will explore the legacies of 1001 Night in contemporary literature, in particular war literature. We will begin with a short story by the Algerian writer, Assia Djebar, that expands the framework of Nights into the context of the Algerian civil war of 1990s, mobilizing it as a resource and insight into problems of authority, power, violence, identity etc. We will then turn to three novels, each reflecting on the relation between authority and narration: the Franco-Afghan writer and filmmaker, Atiq Rahimi, explores storytelling in the time of the Taliban; the Lebanese-American writer, painter and essayist, Etel Adnan, reflects on the long Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990; and the French writer and poet, François David imagines a scene of story-telling in a concentration camp. To help us better understand the relationship between narration, authority, war and history, we will read two theoretical essays by Michel Foucault and Walter Benjamin.

Students will be invited to reflect throughout the quarter on the ways in which storytelling is linked to the questions of life, death and survival both through the form of the works we read and their content. In order to expand our understanding of these complex interconnected questions, students will be asked to consult additional scholarly articles related to their presentations and final paper projects. 

JWSH_ST 280-4-1 Hybrid Arabs and Jews in Palestine/The Land of Israel, 1880- 1948

This course will explore the historical relations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine/The Land of Israel from the close of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. According to prevalent assumptions, both inside and outside academia, this relationship was solely characterized by mutual rivalry, violence, and conflict. This course, however, aims to challenge this approach by looking at shared identities and experiences and analyzing a wide range of daily connection, interaction, and collaborations that took place between Jews and Arabs. Relying on a 'history from below' approach, we will examine planned and voluntary encounters between Jews and Arabs in mixed cities, education system, business and labor market, political organizations, leisure spaces and more. Using various primary sources, we will examine the ways in which Jewish and Arab societies constantly imitated, learned and influenced each other, and how they formed personal and even romantic relationships in the background of the escalating national struggle.

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