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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Fall 2007

ARA 360L • ARABIC CULTURE IN SICILY, 652-1189

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42563 TTh
6:30 PM-8:00 PM
BEN 1.118
ALI, S

Course Description

This course will focus on the influence of Arabic culture on Sicily, 652-1189. As such, it will enable students to examine a sorely neglected channel for the transfer of Arabo-Islamic humanities into Christian Europe well before the Renaissance. In particular, we will focus on high-profile court ceremonies in Palermo and how court bards used heroic poetry (madih) to valorize Muslim Arab, as well as Christian Norman kings. Students will therefore (1) learn to read and interpret heroic verse (madih), (2) investigate the transfer of culture across the Mediterranean, and (3) analyze the cultural anthropological dimensions of ceremony. Sicily offers an uncanny comparison with Andalusia since both were wrested from Arab Muslim control by Christian kingdoms, but whereas the Spanish Reconquista was characterized by periods of zealotry, the Normans conquered Sicily and pragmatically accommodated Arab populations and largely preserved Arabic courtly culture. While Arabic is essential for all students, those with an added knowledge of Greek, Latin, French or Italian will be encouraged to pursue research projects using those languages.

Grading Policy

Undergrad: Weekly readings of primary and secondary materials in Arabic and English, written and oral presentations, three short papers (3-4pp). Undergrads demonstrate an increased knowledge of the literature. Robust discussion 30%, five oral presentations 20%, reaction papers 10%, and 3 short papers 40%

Graduate: Weekly readings of primary and secondary materials in Arabic and English, written and oral presentations, a term paper (15-20pp). Grads demonstate an increased knowledge of literature and the discipline. Robust discussion 30%, five oral presentations 20%, reaction papers 10%, term paper 40%

Texts

Ibn al-Qatta', al-Durrah al-Khatirah fi Shu'ara' al-Jazirah Ihsan Abbas, Mu'jam al-'Ulama' wal-Shu'ara' al-Siqiliyin

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