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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 379N • Envisioning Muslims

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34560 MW
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
PAR 206

Course Description

Our course will survey how Muslims are represented in the dominant cultural media of two important periods: the period known in the West as the European Middle Ages- a time in which Europe first became conscious of Muslims through Islamic invasions, multiple forms of cultural contact and negotiation, and the international wars known as "the Crusades"- and in the contemporary world of the 20th and 21st centuries, when Muslims have, once again, become prominent in the Western imagination.

In the medieval period, we will read selections from European chronicles and romances, a Byzantine biography, Arab histories and biographies, and other cultural media, including illustrations and maps, to see how Europeans envisioned Muslims, and how Muslims envisioned themselves. In the contemporary period, we will view clips from digital media representing several genres-silent film, Hollywood action adventure movies, biographies, television comedy, musicals, Disney animation-to see how, and if, modern representations of Muslims differ from premodern representations. We will also view how Muslims represent themselves in digital media, including clips from Youssef Chahine's "Saladin" and the Axis of Evil comedy tour.

Grading Policy

Course requirements: a term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 1 or 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance (10%) and active participation (10%).


Tenative texts: Selections from Latin crusade chronicles
Autobiography of Usamah
Selections from Arab historians of the crusades
Anna Comnena, The Alexiad
Richard Coer de Lyon
Beha ad-Din, Biography of Saladin
Roman de Saladin
Sultan of Babylon
King of Tars

Illustrations from the Cantigas de Santa Maria

Tentative digital media: The Sheik, Kismet, Aladdin, Lawrence of Arabia, Saladin (Chahine's), Kingdom of Heaven, Rules of Engagement, Axis of Evil comedy tour


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