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Clark University Home > Academic Catalog

Clark University    
  Dec 17, 2017
2017-2018 Academic Catalog

ARTH 161 - The Arts of Islam

The rich visual and material histories of the Islamic peoples encompass many cultures and regions as diverse as Spain, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia and include one third of the world’s population. This course explores Islamic art and architecture from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (d. 632) to the present. Tracing the development of the mosque and the madrasa (religious college), palaces and fortresses from the 7th century, we will reflect on regional variations and influences of neighboring cultures and religions. We will also look at the complex and challenging ‘exchanges’ of art and architectural techniques fostered and forced by the Crusades. The course will consider arts including architectural decoration, calligraphy, miniature and mural paintings, ceramics, glassware, ivory and metalwork, and textiles. The disinclination towards the representation of figural art (aniconic art), sacred geography and ritual, and the importance of commercial and political exchange will also be studied. Major monuments will include the Alhambra in Granada, Krak des Chevaliers and the Citadel of Aleppo, the Great Mosques of Damascus, Cordoba, and Djenne, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and the Taj Mahal in India. Field trip(s) will be to area museums.

Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) Designation: AP

Anticipated Terms Offered: na