Office hours: T 12:30-1:30 and by appointment
Description: This is a graduate reading seminar in early and medieval Islamic history, from the emergence of Islam in the 7th century C.E. through the early fifteenth century. We will read a number of seminal monographs on the rise of Islam and the early caliphate, the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Fatimids, the Mamluk sultanate, and various smaller regional powers. The emphasis is on political and religious institutions, and cultural achievements.
Objectives: Students will become familiar with key debates and problems in the study of early and medieval Islamic history, notably the question of Mecca’s situation when Islam emerged, the nature of the Abbasid revolution, the relationship between the Abbasid caliph and regional potentates such as the Buyids and Ghaznavids, and the pervasiveness of the “mamluk institution.” The course should be of considerable value to students preparing major or minor fields in Islamic history for general examinations.