The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World

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  • Welcome to this Course
    • Great that you are joining us! In this course you will learn about the Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World. Before you start with the course we invite you to first go through this module and introduce yourself in the forum to meet your fellow learners. If you encounter any difficulties while studying, please let us know in the forum. For technical difficulties or questions regarding the course certificate, you can always contact the Coursera Learner Helpdesk. Good luck & we hope you will enjoy this course!

  • The Medieval Islamic City
    • In this Module we will examine the Islamic City. We will discuss if such a thing as "the Islamic city" exists. If so, what are the features that we are looking for ? We will also focus on specific examples of cities in the Medieval Middle East, most notably Baghdad. How was it possible that Baghdad grew to the size that it did? And what role did hygiene and medical care for instance play in that growth?
  • Travel & Religion
    • In this Module we will focus on diversity and connection by looking at religion. We will explore Medieval society and zoom in on the fact that many different religions and religious views coexisted. We will see that different religions shared practices. Sometimes they would even worship in the same place. But we will also show examples of tension and the interaction between politics and religion. Furthermore we will try to find out how religious travelling shaped society.
  • Trade
    • In this module we will take a look at trade. For the Medieval Middle East, trade was immensely important and it owed much of its wealth and prosperity to trade. There are the romantic images of caravans carrying lush fabrics, porcelain and gold along the desert roads of the silk route. And there is the dark side of a flourishing slave trade. But how correct are our images of what the Islamic or Arab world was and is like? Why is it that many people know about harems and very few people know about the legal innovations that enabled trade that we will also discuss in this module? To explore that question further we will introduce you to the concept of Orientalism.
  • Power Play
    • In the last Module we introduced the slave trade in the Medieval Middle East. In this module we will further explore slavery. How was it possible that some of the most powerful people in society, both men and women, were or had been slaves? We will discuss the outrage that followed professor Jonathan Brown's views on slavery and Islam. And with the concept of Orientalism in mind, we will try to sketch a more realistic picture of Harems.
  • Science
    • In this module we will focus on science in the Medieval Muslim world. How did scientific inventions of the Medieval Arabic world make their way to Europe and how did they eventually contribute to shaping today's world? How was knowledge preserved and how did books travel through the ages? We will research if survival of ideas and sources was a matter of sheer luck, or if we can recognize some patterns.
  • In conclusion: the Cosmopolitain Medieval Arabic World
    • In this Course we tried to show you that the Medieval Islamic world was diverse advanced and connected. We have also focused on the danger of over- or under-representation of historical facts. Lastly we have tried to connect the past to the present by explaining and showing how events that took place a long time ago still affect today's world.