Near Eastern Studies

  • The Nature of Reality in Medieval Arabic Literature

    This course will look at a variety of canonical texts and genres from the Classical Arabic literary heritage and examine them through the question of "truth" and "representation." In a culture that is often said to frown upon fictional writing, we will explore attitudes towards language as a means of gaining knowledge about the world, on the one hand, and as a way to depict "reality," on the other.
  • The Nature of Reality in Medieval Arabic Literature

    This course will look at a variety of canonical texts and genres from the Classical Arabic literary heritage and examine them through the question of "truth" and "representation." In a culture that is often said to frown upon fictional writing, we will explore attitudes towards language as a means of gaining knowledge about the world, on the one hand, and as a way to depict "reality," on the other.
  • Marvels and Wonder in Classical Arabic Literature

    This course explores a variety of medieval Arabic texts through the lens of wonder. It is through marveling at the foreign and inexplicable that we position ourselves in the world and separate the Self from the Other. Yet, wonder is also what prompts our curiosity for discovery and provokes our search for explanations. Where was the line drawn between the familiar and the strange in medieval Arabic culture? How was wonder defined? What role did it play? The course is taught in English in its entirety. No prerequisites.
  • Classical Arabic Literary Theory

    This course offers an overview of classical Arabic literary theory in its three strands: poetic, Quranic, and philosophical. Students become familiar with the major primary texts ranging from the 9th to the 14th centuries CE, as well as the major themes and questions that concerned the medieval authors.
  • Introduction to Classical Arabic Literature

    An introduction to Classical Arabic Literature from pre-Islamic Arabian poetry to 17th century burlesque tales from Cairo, this course familiarizes you with the authors and texts that shaped the classical Arabic literary heritage. Poetry, tales, and fables will acquaint you with genres such as the qasida, ghazal, and the maqamat, providing a sense of literature at a time when Arabic was the language of writing from Spain to India. Keeping in mind our positionality in relation to the material, we will address questions of genre, periodization, translation, and aesthetic judgment.

  • Granada and the Fall of Spanish Islam, AD 1212-1492/1614

    Thirteenth-century Christian "Reconquista" of almost all of Spain after 1212 - with the significant exception of the sultanate of Granada - subjected huge minorities of Muslims and Jews to Christian overlords and challenged the rising kingdoms of Castile, Aragon and Portugal to cope with religious diversity.

  • Marvels and Wonder in Classical Arabic Literature

    This course explores a variety of medieval Arabic texts through the lens of wonder. It is through marveling at the foreign and inexplicable that we position ourselves in the world and separate the Self from the Other. Yet, wonder is also what prompts our curiosity for discovery and provokes our search for explanations. Where was the line drawn between the familiar and the strange in medieval Arabic culture? How was wonder defined? What role did it play? The course is taught in English in its entirety. No prerequisites.

  • Classical Arabic Poetry

    This course introduces students to the major Arabic poets and poems from the pre-Islamic period up to and including the Mamluk period. The goal of the course is twofold: to increase the ease with which students are able to read classical Arabic poetry and to expand their knowledge of the various styles, genres and their development. Besides preparing the assigned poems, students are expected each week to put together a brief biographical sketch of the poets we are reading using primary sources exclusively. (This could be done collaboratively) Advanced knowledge of Arabic required.

  • Studies in Later Persian Literature 1200 - 1800 A.D.

    Course acquaints students with the literature of the second great classical language of Islam and its legacy of epics, chronicles, lyric poems, mystical writings and imaginative tales from the traditional Persian-speaking world - including not only from present-day Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan but also from Anatolia, Central Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Continuation of NES 539. Treats the literature from 1200 to 1800.

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