Outsiders in Medieval Middle Eastern Societies: Minorities, Social Outcasts and Foreigners
- Course Code:
- Unit value:
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- Taught in:
- Term 2
The rule of Turkish and Kurdish dynasties, such as the Saljuks, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the establishment of the Latin European Crusader states and the existence of marginal groups within the own society raise the question of their interaction with mainstream Arab Muslim society in the medieval period. The course examines the different forms of this interaction (cultural mediation, interchange, and conflict) in the Eastern Mediterranean up to c. 1500 by focusing on the issue of ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’.
After an introduction of the main theoretical concepts we will consider themes such as non-Muslim groups, social outcasts, foreign rulers and the various levels of interaction with the Crusaders.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the course
At the end of the course the students:
- will have gained insights into the concepts of insiders/outsiders,
- will have acquired a strong understanding of how medieval Middle Eastern society constructed the otherness of internal and external groups,
- will have knowledge of the pertinent sources,
- will be able to critically assess prevailing approaches to the subjects covered
- and will be able to write a competent well-structured essay making substantial use of primary materials.
The objectives of this course are visible in the structure of the sessions. Each session introduces a specific ‘outsider’ group (e. g. slaves, foreign rulers or Crusaders) and focuses at the same time on a particular kind of source material that is relevant to the study of this group (e. g. poetry, inscriptions or endowment records). Two introductory sessions are devoted to the conceptual framework of the course.
Method of assessmentOne unseen written examinaton (40%) plus two written essays (25% and 35%)
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