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Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

Islam and the West: Artistic and Cultural Contacts

Course Code:
15PARH034
Unit value:
0.5
Taught in:
Term 1

This course enriches the existing range of courses on Islamic art and architecture by considering a wide range of artefacts within the particular perspective of cultural contacts with Europe, examining the ways in which Islamic artefacts were acquired, appreciated, utilized and imitated, and placing them also within the wider framework of the developing European intellectual awareness of Islam.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course the student should:

  • Have a good overall grasp of the artistic phenomena associated with the interaction between Islam and the West.
  • Understand the main issues raised by the art historical discourse surrounding it.
  • Be able to use the knowledge and skills gained to prepare a research profile.
  • Be able to produce effective written and oral presentations on the subject.

Scope and syllabus

This course enriches the existing range of courses on Islamic art and architecture by considering a wide range of artefacts within the particular perspective of cultural contacts with Europe, examining the ways in which Islamic artefacts were acquired, appreciated, utilized and imitated, and placing them also within the wider framework of the developing European intellectual awareness of Islam.
The course does not overlap with any existing courses.

Syllabus:
Week 1 Islam and the West: introduction. The invention of Islamic art and the role of collecting and exhibiting in the emergence of the field.
Week 2 Display and transformation: ivories, rock crystals and other objects in the Christian church.
Week 3 Museum visit
Week 4 Islam in the west: the mosque/cathedral of Cordoba, from its construction to today, exploring the idea of 'convivencia' through the art and architecture of Córdoba.
Week 5 The west in Islam: the Cappella Palatina and the art of Norman Sicily.
Week 6 Version and visions of the Alhambra. The Nasrid palace then and now.
Week 7 'Hybridity' and the art of borders. Explore how we consider the art and material culture of communities on national ane religious boundaries. Focus on the art of post-Islamic Spain.
Week 8 Trade and exchange: Venice and Istanbul.
Week 9 Orientalist painting and the depiction of Islam in both west and east.
Week 10 Student assessment ('slide' test).

Method of assessment

1 essay of 4,500 words = 75%/ slide test =25%

Suggested reading

  • Allen, T., Five Essays on Islamic Art, U.S.A., 1988.
  • Baer, E., Ayyubid Metalwork with Christian Images, Leiden/New York, 1989.
  • Baker, P. L., H. Tezcan and J. Wearden, Silks for the Sultans, Istanbul, 1996.
  • Behrens-Abouseif, D., “The Baptistère de Saint-Louis: A re-interpretation”, Islamic Art, 1987, pp. 15-26.
  • Brend B., The Emperor Akbar’s Khamsa of Nizami, London, 1995.
  • Carboni, S. and Whitehouse, D., Glass of the Sultans, New York, 2001.
  • Contadini, A., Fatimid Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Publications, London, 1998.
  • Coomarsawamy, A., Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art, New York, n.d.
  • Cott, P.B., Siculo-Arabic Ivories, Princeton, 1939.
  • Dodds, J.D., (ed.), Al-Andalus - The Art of Islamic Spain, New York, 1992.
  • Erdmann, K., “Fatimid Rock Crystals”, in Oriental Art, 3, 1951, pp. 142-46.
  • Al-Faruqi, L., Islam and Art, Islamabad, 1988.
  • Grabar, O., The Formation of Islamic Art, New Haven, 1973
  • Hamilton, A., Europe and the Arab World, London-Oxford, 1994.
  • Hourani, A., Islam in European Thought, Cambridge, 1991.
  • Lewis, B., The Muslim Discovery of Europe, London, 1982.
  • Petrosian Y. (ed.), De Baghdad a Ispahan, Venice, 1994.
  • Raby, J., Venice, Dürer and the Oriental Mode, London, 1982.
  • Rice, D.S., Le Baptistère de Saint Louis, Paris, 1951.
  • Said, E., Orientalism, London, 1978.
  • Sievernick and Budde (eds.), Europa und der Orient 800-1900, Munich, 1989.
  • Ward, R., Islamic Metalwork, London, 1993.