Fall 2018 REL 278 Islamic City

There are various ways of studying a culture, civilization or a religious tradition. One can choose the window of history (thus studying its historical origins and evolution), read the various texts its inhabitants has produced, listen to the stories that were deemed important by its inhabitants, listen (or/and speak) to the inhabitants OR approach them “spatially”, i.e., by paying close attention to the spaces that they created. It is the latter that we will do this term. Our explorations seek to imagine, discover and share with one another a bird’s eye view of premodern Muslim spaces, those created within the boundaries of the three biggest empires in human history, the Ottomans, the Safavids and the Mughals. We will seek to understand Islamic societies and its inhabitants “the Muslims” by painting a picture/image of a major “Islamic City” with its religious, cultural, social, political, and economic life as experienced within the imperial boundaries of these three empires. Led by a TLA-team (T=Technology; L=Library; A=Academic) you are invited to explorations of traditional Islamic civilization in which you will ‘choose’, ‘discover’, ‘imagine’ and ‘present’ an Islamic city and its political, religious, social, economic and cultural life.