MES 381 • Islamic Historiography
4:00 PM-7:00 PM
The course provides an introduction to basic aspects of Islamic historiography, with an emphasis on the medieval and premodern periods. The course is divided into three sections. First, students are exposed to critical debates about primary materials and issues such as authenticity, narrative, communal identity, and social control. The second phase of the course explores the potential benefits of interdisciplinary study for Islamic historiography. Secondary works in the fields of anthropology, law, gender, Western historiography, and religion will be critically read for their potential theoretical and practical applications to Muslim society. In the final phase of the course, students will be asked to pursue their own research projects, utilizing primary medieval and/or premodern Islamic materials combined with interdisciplinary or secondary historiographical precedents. The seminar attempts to address the current state of the field of Islamic historiography as well as introduce students to the practical applications of extant interdisciplinary scholarly methodology and its modern implications for research past and present.
Written work for the class will consist of two ten page essays on assigned class texts (25% each) and one required twenty page research paper (40%). Each student will also outline and distribute to the class a one-page abstract of one week's readings (5%). A brief oral presentation about the final research paper is also required on the last day of class (5%).
Khaled Abou El Fadl, Speaking in God's Name: Islamic Law, Authority, and Women. 2001. Robert J. Allison, The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and the Spread of Nationalism. 1983. R. Stephen Humphreys, Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry. 1991. Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah. Nabil Matar, Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery. 1999. Other works TBA.