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HIS 189 — Muslim Spain: Philosophy and Culture

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 20—Nov 29
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 22
Units: 2
Tuition: $485
Instructor(s): Vincent Barletta
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Sep 20—Nov 29
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 22
2 Units
Vincent Barletta
Please Note: No class on November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
This course will examine the history and culture of Al-Andalus, the portion of what is now southern Spain and Portugal that was once under Muslim rule (711–1492 CE). With a focus on politics as well as art, music, and literature, we will consider the origins of Al-Andalus in the early 8th century, its spectacular flourishing in the early 11th century, and its eventual collapse at the end of the 15th century. Our focus will be on lyric poetry (zajals and muwashshahat), classical music, and philosophy (ibn Rushd, ibn Tufayl), as well as Islamic jurisprudence and politics. Current debates on immigration, identity, peace, and innovation in the West often even ask in all seriousness whether Muslims (and Islam) can be compatible with democracy. We comfortably use phrases such as “clash of civilizations” and we speak of “jihad” as though it could mean only one thing. These arguments and discussions have tended to revolve around a stubbornly ahistorical and monolithic notion of Islam, as well as a simplistic, even dehumanizing, view of Muslims around the world. In this course, students will learn of a nearly eight-century stretch of European history during which Muslim kingdoms were at the cutting edge of science, philosophy, art, music, and literature while exercising striking tolerance with respect to their non-Muslim subjects.

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Stanford

Vincent Barletta is a research associate at Stanford’s Europe Center and associated faculty in the Center for African Studies, the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, the Mediterranean Studies Forum, and the Center for Latin American Studies. He received a PhD in Hispanic languages and literatures from UCLA.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Stroumsa, Sarah, Andalus and Sefarad: On Philosophy and Its History in Islamic Spain (ISBN 9780691176437)
(Required) Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Tufayl's Hayy Ibn Yaqzan: A Philosophical Tale, 2009 (ISBN 978-0226303109)