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Capstone Seminar: Antisemitism and Islamophobia: A Comparative Perspective

History 4010 - Fall 2019

This seminar will provide an opportunity to explore in some depth various facets of the convivencia (coexistence) of Muslims, Jews, and Christians in medieval Iberia. We will pick up the timeline with the emergence of an Ibero-Islamic society in the 8th century CE; the seminar's historical horizon stretches up to the turn of the 16th century, when Spanish Jews and Muslims were equally faced with the choice between exile and conversion to Christianity. Until about 1100, Muslims dominated most of the Iberian Peninsula; from then onward, Christians ruled much and eventually all of Spain and Portugal. Through a process termed, from a Christian perspective, as reconquista (Reconquest), Catholic kingdoms acquired large Muslim enclaves. As borders moved, Jewish communities found themselves under varying Muslim or Christian dominion, or migrated from one realm to the other. Interactions between the three ethno-religious communities occurred throughout, some characterized by mutual respect and shared creativity and others by rivalry and strife. The course focuses on these religious and cultural encounters, placing them in various historical and geographic contexts. It will raise questions concerning the ambiguities of religious change, and the interplay of persecution and toleration. Methodologically, the seminar emphasizes the study of primary sources, including documentary, historiographical, literary and poetical texts. Structurally, the course divides into four main parts. Part 1 will cover the political and cultural history of Iberia from the 8th to the early 16th centuries; part 2 will be devoted to the Jewish experience under Muslim rule; and part 3 to the Jewish and Muslim minorities in Christian Spain. In part 4, we will discuss primary sources originating from each of the three communities that are portraying the respective Other. All sources will be read in English translation; however, students are encouraged to make use of their linguistic and cultural expertise
Course Attributes: EN HAS HUMFA HUMAR HUM

Section 01

Capstone Seminar: Antisemitism and Islamophobia: A Comparative Perspective
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