Course handbook: Arabic

Arabic with Islamic Studies and History

This course aims:

  1. to give you a thorough grounding in written and spoken Modern Standard Arabic;
  2. to introduce you to selected texts in both classical and modern Arabic;
  3. to provide you with a general knowledge of the historical development of Islamic cultures and societies;
  4. to develop in general your skills of description, interpretation and analysis of literary, historical, religious and cultural material.

Arabic with a subsidiary language

This course aims:

  1. to give you a thorough grounding in written and spoken Modern Standard Arabic;
  2. to introduce you to selected texts in both classical and modern Arabic;
  3. to provide you with a general knowledge of the historical development of Islamic cultures and societies;
  4. to give you a firm grounding in a second language with which Arabic is, in some way and to a greater or lesser extent, historically and culturally linked, and to introduce you to the literature of that language;
  5. to develop in general your skills of description, interpretation, and analysis of literary, historical, religious, and cultural material.

Teaching Staff

Preliminaries (First year)

Arabic Prelims comprise three written examination papers of 3 hours each, plus an oral examination:

  1. Translation and précis into English.
  2. Comprehension, composition, and grammar.
  3. Oral/aural examination.
  4. Islamic history and culture.

You will prepare for Papers 1, 2 and 3 by attending intensive language instruction for about 10 hours per week, backed up by thorough preparation in your own time. The course integrates the four language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in Modern Standard Arabic. Weekly tests are set, and are intended to provide feedback on your progress. Paper 4 is taught principally through lectures and tutorials.  You will receive an hour's tutorial every other week.  In Michaelmas, Hilary, and weeks 1-4 of Trinity Term, you will receive one one-hour of lecture a week on History. In Michaelmas and weeks 1-4 of Trinity Term, you will receive one one-hour lecture a week introducing Islam and other aspects of Middle Eastern culture.   In Hilary Term, you will receive one one-hour lecture weekly on Middle Eastern literature.  You will write a total of 10 essays over the year (4 in each of Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, and 2 in Trinity Term).

Second year: Your Year Abroad

You will spend Year 2 (September to June) studying Arabic in the Arab World, on a course approved by the Faculty Board. Students usually spend this year in Cairo or Beirut, though, owing to political circumstances, all students currently attend an approved course in Jordan.  Information on the centres is available from the teaching staff and from returning students. Addresses are given below. You must finalise plans for your year abroad early in Trinity Term, Year 1. The current co-ordinators for the year abroad are Professors Christopher Melchert and Mohamed-Salah Omri (HT-TT).

Addresses of centres offering courses recognised by the Faculty Board:

Institut Français du Proche-Orient (I.F.P.O), Amman,
Jabal Amman
3, Ibrahim A. Zahri Street
Amman 11183
Jordan
Tel: +962 (0)46 111 71
Fax: (+691) 1 420 295
Contact: see http://www.ifporient.org/en/node/135

 

Qasid Institute
22 Queen Rania Street Next to Mukhtar Mall
Tel: +962 6 515 4364
Fax: +962 6 515 4352
Email: info@qasid.com

Final Honour School (Third and Fourth year)

In Years 3 and 4 you will broaden and deepen your command of written and spoken Modern Standard Arabic (papers 1-3), and, in three further core papers (papers 4-6), you will begin to acquire a broad knowledge respectively of pre-modern and modern Arabic literature and of the historical and cultural development of Islamic societies (For students on Arabic and subsidiary language, you will acquire this knowledge until about 1500). If you are reading Arabic with Islamic Studies and History, you will, in addition, take a Further Subject (to be examined as one paper), and a Special Subject (to be examined as two papers), both chosen from a wide range of options. Finally, you will write a dissertation (see Faculty Undergraduate Handbook).

Teaching for the Further Subjects is given in Trinity Term of Year 3. Most options present opportunities to explore topics touched on in the core course (papers 4-6). The Further Subject is normally taught by means of 2 hours of classes per week and, over the whole term, 4 hours of tutorials and 4 essays.

Teaching for the Special Subject will normally be given entirely in Michaelmas Term of Year 4. This will usually involve 16 hours of classes, as well as 6 hours of tutorials and 6 essays. Hilary Term will normally be devoted to your dissertation. The Special Subject will be examined as two papers, one of which will be a take-home paper. You will be taking the following courses.

For students doing a subsidiary language, you choose one of the seven languages.  If you are interested in how languages work grammatically, the experience of studying any of these languages alongside Arabic will be rewarding and stimulating in itself. In terms of literature and culture, too, you will find that both the connections and the contrast between your two areas of study enrich your understanding of both.

Arabic with Islamic Studies and History

Arabic with a Subsidiary Language

1. Arabic Unprepared Translation into English and Comprehension
2. Composition in Arabic
3. Spoken Arabic
4. Arabic Literature
5. Islamic History, 570-1500
6. Islamic Religion
7. Further subject
8. and 9. Special Subject (examined in two papers, essay and exam paper)
10. Dissertation

  1. Arabic Unprepared Translation into English and Comprehension
  2. Composition in Arabic
  3. Spoken Arabic
  4. Arabic Literature
  5. Islamic History, 570-1500
  6. Islamic Religion
  7. Optional Dissertation
  8. A subsidiary language from the list below:
    • Akkadian.
    • Aramaic and Syriac.
    • Armenian.
    • Classics (in the Honour School of Classics and Oriental Studies).
    • Hebrew.
    • Hindi/Urdu
    • Persian.
    • Turkish.

The following charts shows which papers are normally taught when:

Year 3

Michaelmas

Hilary

Trinity

Papers 1-3 (Arabic lang.)

Papers 1-3 (Arabic lang.)

Papers 1-3 (Arabic lang.)

Paper 4 (Arabic lit.)

Paper 4 (Arabic lit.)

Paper 6 (Islamic Religion)

Paper 5 (Islamic History)

Paper 5 (Islamic History)

Paper 7 (Further Subject)

 

Paper 6 (Islamic Religion)

 

Year 4

Michaelmas

Hilary

Trinity

Papers 1-3 (Arabic lang.)

Papers 1-3 (Arabic lang.)

Papers 1-3 (Arabic lang.)

Papers 8 & 9 (Special sub.)

Paper 10 (Dissertation)

Revision

 Dissertation

The dissertation is an opportunity to undertake original research on a topic of your own choosing. You will have one or two tutorials to discuss method, bibliography, and other aspects at the beginning of Hilary Term, then review what you have come up with near the end of the term with the same tutor. However, it is mainly your project to run with. You will be solely responsible for the final draft, which will not be read by your tutors.

For deadlines, word limit, and other rules, see Student Handbook (Undergraduate Students).

 Important deadlines

Further Subjects:

  1. Hadīth
  2. Muslims and Others in Abbasid Story-Telling
  3. Early Islamic Historiography 
  4. The Ethos of the jāhilīya in the Mu’allaqa of Imru’al-Qays
  5. Aspects of Islamic art, Architecture and Archaeology
  6. The Rise of the Sufi Orders in the Islamic world, 1200-1500 
  7. Sufism
  8. al-Ghazālī (not available in 2016/17)
  9. Religion and Politics during the Mongol Period (not available in 2016/17)
  10. The Middle East in the Age of Empire, 1830–1970
  11. A Modern Islamic Thinker (e.g. Sayyid Qutb, Mohamed Talbi, Rashid Rida)
  12. Modern Arabic literature
  13. Society and Culture in the Middle East
  14. The Biography of Mohammad (not available in 2016/17)
  15. Topics in the Study of Language with Reference to the Middle East
  16. Modern Islamic Thought in the Middle East 
  17. Harems, Homes and Streets: Space and Gender in the Middle East
  18. Short-term Further Subject, as approved by the Board of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and publicised in the Arabic Handbook.

Special Subjects:

  1. Qur’an
  2. Theology and Philosophy in the Islamic World 
  3. The Transformation of Ideas from the jāhilīya to Early Islam in Early Arabic Poetry
  4. Topics in Islamic law
  5. Learning and Culture in Baghdad, 800-900 (not available)
  6. Medieval Sufi Thought
  7. ‘Slave dynasties’ in Islam: from the Ghaznavids to the Mamlūk Sultanate (not available)
  8. A Special Subject from the Field of Islamic Art, Architecture, Numismatics or Archaeology, 500-c. 1900
  9. The Ottomans, Islam and the Arab World 1300-1566 (not available)
  10. Themes in Modern Arabic literature
  11. Modern Islamic Thought in the Middle East  (not available)
  12. Topics in the January 25th Revolution
  13. Writing Islamic history, 1250-1500: from Palaeography to Historiography (not available)
  14. Nahda: Arabic Prose and Cultural Activism in the 19th Century
  15. A Short-Term Special Subject, as approved by the Board of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and publicised in the Arabic Handbook.

NB: Not all Further Subjects and Special Subjects are available yearly.  Please consult with the Course Coordinator or relevant subject tutor. 

 

NOTE: the examination regulations relating to all Oriental Studies courses are available at https://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/examregs/ . If there is a conflict between information in any of the faculty handbooks and the exam regulations, you should always follow the exam regulations. If you have any concerns please contact academic@administrator.ox.ac.uk. The information in this handbook is accurate as at 1st October 2016, however it may be necessary for changes to be made in certain circumstances, as explained at www.graduate.ox.ac.uk/coursechanges . If such changes are made the department will publish a new version of this handbook together with a list of the changes. Students will also be informed.


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Teaching Staff

The following list gives most of the members of the Faculty who teach Islamic Studies. Messages can also be left in the pigeonholes in the foyer of the Institute.

Professor James Allan, Professor of Eastern Art [retired]

Mr Talal al-Azem, Research Officer (Impact Project)

Dr Walter Armbrust, Associate Professor in Modern Middle Eastern Studies (St Antony’s)

Professor Marilyn Booth, Khalid Bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor for the Study of Contemporary Arab World (Magdalen) 

Professor Julia Bray, Laudian Professor of Arabic (St John’s)

Dr Dominic Parviz Brookshaw, Associate Professor in Persian Literature (Wadham)

Dr Stephanie Cronin, Department Lecturer in Persian Studies

Professor Geert Jan van Gelder, Laudian Professor of Arabic (St John's) (Retired)

Dr Otared Haidar, Instructor in Arabic

Dr Pascal Held, Departmental Lecturer in Islamic Studies

Professor Edmund Herzig Soudavar Professor of Persian Studies (Wadham) 

Professor Clive Holes, Khalid Bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World (Magdalen) [Retired]

Dr Lamia Jamal Aldin, OCIS Instructor in Modern Arabic, Email: lamia.jamalaldin@oxcis.ac.uk

Dr Nadia Jamil, Co-ordinator; Senior Instructor in Classical and Modern Arabic

Professor Jeremy Johns, Professor of Islamic Archaeology and Director of the Khalili Research Centre (Wolfson)

Mr Tajalsir Kandoura, Instructor in Arabic

Dr Homa Katouzian, Iran Heritage Foundation Research Fellow (St Antony’s)

Professor Christopher Melchert, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies (Pembroke)

Dr Laurent Mignon, Associate Professor in Turkish

Dr Nassima Neggaz, Lecturer in Islamic History

Mr Ronald Nettler, Faculty Tutor (Mansfield) [retired]

Dr Mohamed-Salah Omri, Associate Professor in Modern Arabic Language and Literature (St John’s)

Dr Robin Ostle, Emeritus Research Fellow in Modern Arabic (St John's)

Dr Philip Robins, Associate Professor in the Politics of the Middle East and Faculty Fellow (St Antony’s)

Dr Eugene Rogan, Associate Professor in the Modern History of the Middle East (St Antony’s)

Dr Ahmed Al-Shahi, Research Fellow (St Antony's)

Dr Nicolai Sinai, Associate Professor in Islamic Studies (Pembroke)

Dr Luke Treadwell, Samir Shamma Associate Professor in Islamic Numismatics (St Cross)

Dr Elizabeth Tucker Jill Hart Research Fellow in Indo-Iranian Philology (Wolfson)

Professor Oliver Watson, J.M. Pei Professor of Islamic Art and Architecutre (Wolfson)

Dr Michael Willis, University Research Lecturer and H.M. King Mohammed VI Fellow in Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies (St Antony’s)

Dr Zeynep Yurekli-Gorkay,  Associate Professor in Islamic Art and Architecture 


Compulsory Subjects

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FHS: Arabic Unprepared Translation into English and Comprehension

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Throughout the six terms of Years 3 and 4, there are 4 class hours per week devoted to improving language skills in modern Arabic, 2 to written Arabic, 2 to spoken and aural plus one paired tutorial every other week. Through the integrated approach adopted, these classes constitute preparation for the Papers 1 and 2.

The Classical Arabic component is served, first, by coursework undertaken during the year abroad; then through close study, Year 3, of selections of pre-modern Arabic in the core-courses of Classical Arabic literature, History and Religion. Thereafter it will be supported by two-hour sessions every other week to read text selections and discuss translation strategies throughout Year 4.

Teaching staff:

Professor Julia Bray, Dr Nadia Jamil and others.

Course description:

Year 3. Sets of modern Arabic texts are presented, which are organised thematically by subject. Subjects vary from year to year but currently include: the Arabic language - its history, native beliefs about, its importance as a political symbol of Arab unity; the Arab architectural tradition, past, present and future; the structure of the Arab family and the role of men and women in it, etc. Each subject is studied for approximately 3 weeks. Students are given copies of printed materials in advance for preparation, and these are reviewed in class where particular attention is paid to the vocabulary and phraseology associated with each subject, the object being to promote not just passive knowledge of, but active engagement with the language of the subject matter. To this end, learning is reinforced orally either individually or in groups, in classroom debates and presentations in Arabic on issues raised by the materials. For some subjects, the input material includes Arabic audio and videotapes as well as printed materials. Instruction is provided in dealing with longer Arabic texts for gist, and précis writing. Practice is also given in how to translate English structures which experience shows give particular problems to English speakers.

Year 4. In Year 4, what is offered is a more advanced version of the 3rd-year programme, again thematically organised. The difference is that in Year 4 the organising principle is text-type rather than subject matter: e.g. expository, polemical, reportage, narrative, texts are studied as separate genres in order to examine how such rhetorical purposes are typically fulfilled in Arabic. The range of material studied is extremely wide, e.g. political speeches, philosophical reflections, personal memoirs, short stories. The objective is to focus your attention on which parts of the language’s inventory of vocabulary and syntactic structures are typically mobilised to express particular rhetorical purposes: e.g. neutral reporting, advancing an argument, persuasion, sequencing a narrative. This part of the course attempts to answer the question: ‘What range of forms are used to express a given rhetorical function?’ In the Trinity Term much attention is devoted to the translation of passages of modern English prose from a wide variety of genres into Arabic, in which students are encouraged to ‘recycle’ the phraseology from the Arabic texts they have read.

The aim of the classical (or pre-modern) Arabic class in Year 4 is to make you acquainted, or better acquainted, with a range of prose genres, both ‘literary’ and non-literary, from anecdotes, ‘short stories’, jokes, historiography, biography, philosophy, ethics, popular science, Islamic law, travel literature, etc., and to discuss problems of translation and appropriate solutions. Different texts will be presented every other week.

The examination consists of four questions, and there is no choice. Questions 1 and 2 involve translation into English of two Arabic passages in prose, one pre-modern, one modern, which may be drawn from any genre. Questions 3 and 4 involve summarising in English, and answering questions on, two long passages of modern Arabic, of a documentary or expository nature.

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FHS: Composition in Arabic

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Years 3 and 4.

Teaching staff:

Dr Nadia Jamil, Mr Taj Kandoura, Dr Otared Haidar.

Course description:

Year 3. You are given practice in translating from English into Arabic and in Arabic essay writing, with emphasis on developing an idiomatic written Arabic style. The approach is to focus first on ways in which modern Arabic typically expresses major linguistic functions, whether narrowly syntactic, e.g. comparison, passivisation, adverbial complementation, partitive constructions etc. or more broadly rhetorical, e.g. hypothesising, persuading, denying, agreeing, etc. This initial focusing of your attention involves the study of textual examples in Arabic from a diverse range of sources. You will then be presented with short ‘parallel’ English texts (often no more than four or five sentences long) and are required to use the Arabic structural and rhetorical elements to which you have been exposed to translate these into Arabic. The objective is to focus more clearly than is possible in traditional prose composition classes on those aspects of Arabic syntax and rhetoric which experience shows cause most problems to English-speaking students and which are most often mistranslated. Guided writing and essay writing will also be practised.

Year 4. What is offered is essentially a more advanced version of the Year 3 programme, except that less time is spent on individual areas of syntax, and more on the development of a more finely tuned feel for the phraseology and style of modern written Arabic. The focus is on text-types and the language typically associated with them, and you will be given many short passages of English for translation into Arabic, the texts being drawn from and grouped into types and subjects. The overall aim of Year 3 and 4 prose composition and essay writing classes is to develop both accuracy in written language use and appropriateness in usage.

The examination involves translating into Arabic one of two English prose passages, and writing one Arabic essay, of approximately 400 words, from a choice of subjects. The style of modern written Arabic you use in the examination should be appropriate to the subject matter of the piece being translated, and the subject matter of the essay.

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FHS: Spoken Arabic

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Years 3 and 4.

Teaching staff:

Mr Taj Kandoura, Dr Otared Haidar, Dr Nadia Jamil.

Course description:

Through a variety of textual and audio-visual materials, students are instructed in a range of oral and aural skills which are tested in the Spoken Arabic examination in FHS.

In the examination a candidate will normally be required to show competence in the following:

  1. Comprehension of passages of text. In this comprehension test, candidates will hear three passages each lasting up to three minutes, the passages being read twice at normal speed. After the readings of each passage, candidates will be given approximately five minutes to provide written evidence in English that they have understood the passage. This part of the examination will be conducted in a group.
  2. Reading aloud of a passage of text, vocalising the grammar.
  3. Oral presentation and general conversation of not more than fifteen minutes, based on a choice of topics given one day in advance.

In part (3) of the oral examination, it is important that you produce language which is both fluent and accurate, whether you choose to use one of the colloquial varieties of the language (Egyptian, Syrian, Tunisian, etc.) or to speak in Modern Standard Arabic, either of which is acceptable. Ideally, you should aim at a style similar to that used by educated Arabs, i.e., essentially couched in the regional colloquial of whichever area of the Middle East you spent your Year Abroad in, but with an ‘educated’ (i.e., Standard) vocabulary, where this is required by the subject you choose to talk about.

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FHS: Arabic Literature

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, MT - HT, up to 16 hours of classes and lectures per term, equally divided between Classical and Modern, taught concurrently; 3 tutorials + essays each per term.

Teaching staff:

Professor Julia Bray (Classical); Dr Robin Ostle (Modern).

Course description:

With this paper you will acquire a first introduction to Arabic literary texts, both classical -here meaning medieval to early modern - and modern.

 The classical (early medieval to early modern) set texts offer a brief overview of ninth to seventeenth-century prose, including oratory and rhymed prose, in the form of semi-popular, historical, biographical and fictional narratives, together with short examples of several types of poetry (mourning; love; gnomic; doggerel; mystical) dating from the seventh to the seventeenth centuries. The writers are from Arabia (the desert: al-Khansā’; the city: ‘Umar ibn Abī Rabī‘a), Egypt (Ibn Hishām), Iraq (Ibn A‘tham; al-Mas‘ūdī; Ibn al-Mut‘azz and al-Warrāq), Iran (Badī‘ al-Zamān), India (Ibn Ma‘ṣūm), and Syria/Egypt (Dawūd al-Anṭākī) and from a variety of backgrounds (tribal poet: al-Khansā’; Qurashī aristocrat: ‘Umar ibn Abī Rabī‘a; historian and antiquarian: Ibn Hishām; preacher and historian: Ibn A‘tham; copyist and slave trader: al-Warrāq; ‘Abbasid prince, poet and literary theorist: Ibn al-Mut‘azz; roving polymath: al-Mas‘ūdī; freelance littérateur: Badī‘ al-Zamān; physician and mystic: Dawūd al-Anṭākī; courtier and administrator: Ibn Ma‘ṣūm). Despite this spread of genres, periods and backgrounds, the set texts are in dialogue with shared traditions, and in some cases with each other.

There are translations into English or other European languages of some of the texts, and further reading in translation of related texts is recommended.

The modern component of this paper is designed to illustrate how modern Arabic literature emerged initially from its classical antecedents such as the maqama , and went on to develop rapidly the themes, genres and language which have made this one of the richest literatures of the post-colonial world. It begins with extracts from two of the pioneers of modernity in modern Arabic prose, Muhammad al-Muwaylihi and Jibran Khalil Jibran, and continues with a selection of short stories written between 1929 and 1994. This part of the course will conclude with three poems, one each by the poets mentioned above.

 All modern Arabic texts will be supplied, and any text not read in full in the class will be accompanied by an English translation. The three poems will be read and translated in class. Reading lists will be provided in addition to the recommended background reading. Three essays will be written on aspects of the texts and the genres to which they belong.

Recommended reading:

Michael Cooperson and Shawkat M. Toorawa (eds.), Arabic Literary Culture, 500-925, Detroit; London, Thomson Gale 2005 (Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol.311), continued as:

Essays in Arabic Literary Biography, 950 -1350, Terri De Young (ed.); Essays in Arabic Literary Biography, 1350 - 1850, Joseph E. Lowry and Devin J. Stewart (eds.), Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz 2009.

Julie Scott Meisami and Paul Starkey (eds.), Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, London; New York, Routledge 1998 (2 vols.).

Robert Irwin (ed.), Night & Horses & the Desert. An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature [in translation], London, Allen Lane The Penguin Press 1999 and reprs.

Geert Jan van Gelder (trs.), Classical Arabic Literature. A Library of Arabic Literature Anthology, New York; London, New York University Press 2013.

Julia Bray (ed.), Writing and Representation in Medieval Islam, London; New York: Routledge, 2006.

 

Set texts:

Set Texts

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FHS: Islamic History, 570-1500

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, 3 hours of lectures and seminars in weeks 1-8 of Michaelmas Term and Weeks 1-4 of Hilary Term, 36 hours of lectures and discussion classes + 6 tutorials and essays.

Teaching staff:

Dr Nassima Neggaz

Course description:

This paper provides a chronological and topical introduction to the political, social, and intellectual history of the central Islamic lands (Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, and Iran) from the late 6th century AD until the end of the 15th century AD. Its primary goal is to train you to think critically about the emergence of classical Islamic civilisation. To do this, you are asked to read carefully a number of monographs and articles, and to write 6 essays on a variety of topics. These range from the historical sources on Muhammad to the First and Second Civil Wars, the Abbasid Revolution, the emergence of Hadith and the development of Islamic law, the nature of the caliphate, the political disintegration of the empire, and the role of the holy man.

Recommended reading:

Endress, G., An Introduction to Islam, Edinburgh, 1988.

Goldziher, I., Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, Princeton, 1981.

Hodgson, M.G.S., The Venture of Islam II. The Expansion of Islam in the Middle Periods, Chicago and London, 1974.

Humphreys, R.S., Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry, Princeton, 1991.

The Cambridge History of Islam in Two Volumes, Vol. 1, pp. 141-291.

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FHS: Islamic Religion

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, Hilary and Trinity Terms: 36 hours of lectures and seminars, 6 tutorials and essays

Teaching staff:

Professor Christopher Melchert, Dr Pascal Held and Dr Nicolai Sinai.

Course description:

This paper is an introductory survey of the Islamic religious tradition, especially in Arabic. Lectures will provide an initial overview of the main genres of Islamic religious literature and their historical development, while the reading seminars will be devoted to translating and analysing set texts from the Qur’an, Hadith, Islamic law, Islamic theology, and Sufism . Tutorials and associated essays will involve some additional primary texts and current scholarship.

Recommended reading:

Schacht, Joseph.  An Introduction to Islamic Law, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964. Karamustafa, Ahmet T. Sufism: The Formative Period. Edinburgh: University Press, 2007.

Robinson, Neal. Discovering the Qur’an. London: SCM, 1996.

Ernst, Carl W. The Shambhala guide to Sufism. Boston, Mass.: Shambhala, 1997.

Set texts:

Set Texts


Further Subjects

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Hadīth

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT 16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials 

Teaching staff:

Professor Christopher Melchert

Course description:

Islamic  Religion  introduced  medieval  scholarship  concerning  the Qur’an. Here is an opportunity to explore more deeply.  Suggested topics here are the method of identifying weak Hadith in Ibn Adi al-Qattan, al-Kamil fi al-du‘afa’ ; the use of Hadith in qur’anic commentary; the use of Hadith in Islamic law; and, finally, the modern authenticity controversy.

Recommended reading:

Berg, Herbert. The Development of Exegesis in Early Islam: The Authenticity of Muslim Literature from the Formative Period. Curzon Studies in the Qur’an. Richmond: Curzon, 2000. The first half is a useful review of the authenticity debate.

Dickinson, Eerik Nael. The Development of Early Sunnite Hadith Criticism. Islamic History and Civilization, Studies and Texts, 38. Leiden: Brill, 2001. Chapter 6, on the comparison of asânîd, corrects earlier accounts of the Islamic tradition.

Juynboll, G. H. A. Muslim Tradition: Studies in Chronology, Provenance and Authorship of Early hadith. Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization. Cambridge: University Press, 1983. The first major advance since Schacht and Abbott (not listed here, but see Siddiqi, which is similar).

Motzki, Harald. The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence: Meccan Fiqh before the Classical Schools. Translated by Marion H. Katz. Islamic History and Civilization, Studies and Texts, 41. Leiden: Brill, 2002. Chapter 1 is another good survey of the authenticity debate.

Schacht, Joseph.  The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950.

The next great advance after Goldziher.  Sets out the paradigm everybody qualifies or attacks

Brown, Jonathan A. C. Hadith: Muhammad's legacy in the medieval and modern world. Foundations of Islam. Oxford: Oneworld, 2009. The best textbook, especially strong on scholarship in the High Middle Ages and the difficulties raised by what he calls the Historical Critical Method.

 

Set texts:

Set Texts

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Muslims and Others in Abbasid Story-Telling

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT, up to 16 hours lectures; 4 tutorials/essays

Teaching staff:

Professor Julia Bray

Course description:

The paper may be taken on the basis of BA Arabic Paper 4: Arabic Literature.

The course examines areas of intersection between medieval Arabic literature and  Byzantine and near eastern Late Antique cultures, from the viewpoint of the impact of the Arabic ‘Great Translation Movement’. Equal emphasis will be placed on Arabic source texts, in the original Arabic (= set texts) and in translation, and on recent scholarly publications which explore medieval Arabic cultural assimilation and self-differentiation and ideas of intellectual and political authority.

The 3-hour examination will be in two parts: Part I: a commentary on an Arabic set text; Part II: two essays (from a choice). Both parts must be attempted, and each question will carry a third of the marks.

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Early Islamic Historiography

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT 16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials

Teaching staff:

TBC

Course description:

This paper introduces students to Arabic/Islamic historical writing of the 9th-15th centuries CE. It complements several other papers in the Arabic course, particularly Islamic History 570-1500 and Arabic literature. We discuss points of grammar and lexicon along the way. But it is more properly considered a history paper, since we choose accounts of historical significance (e.g. the Islamic conquests; the Abbasid Revolution; the coming of the Buyids to Baghdad; the Mongol conquests; and the rise of Sufi tariqas and the mamluk institution), and focus on historical and historiographic issues (e.g. authorship, source material, technical terms). Our method is to read (almost always out loud) 4-5 samples, each approximately 6-10 pages in length. In addition to preparing these texts in your own time, you will also read some secondary literature and write 4 essays.

Recommended reading:

Cahen, C.  ‘History and historians’, in Religion, Learning and Science in the ‘Abbasid Period.

The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature. Cambridge, 1990. Pp. 188-233.

Duri, A. A. The Rise of Historical Writing among the Arabs.    Translated by L. I. Conrad. Princeton, 1983.

Gibb, H. A. R.  ‘Ta’rikh’, in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Supplement to the 1st Edition.  Leiden, 1938. Reprinted in idem, Studies on the Civilization of Islam (Boston, 1962), 108-37.

Robinson, Chase F. Islamic Historiography. Themes in Islamic History. Cambridge, 2003.

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Aspects of Islamic Art, Architecture and Archaeology

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT, 6 tutorials and essays, plus lectures and/or classes as available.

Teaching staff:

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Yürekli-Görkay. Other participating staff: Dr Teresa Fitzherbert, Prof. Jeremy Johns, Dr Luke Treadwell (on leave TT 2016), Prof. Oliver Watson (TT 2016 only).

Please contact the Course Co-ordinator zeynep.yurekli-gorkay@orinst.ox.ac.uk to register for this course. 

Course description:

This Further Subject offers the opportunity to select one or more aspects of the art, architecture and archaeology of Islamic societies from the formative period until the early modern period. ‘Art, architecture and archaeology’ is understood in the widest possible sense to include all material and visual culture. Students may choose one or more aspects to complement their interests and other papers, and depending upon the availability of teaching staff in any given year. Contact the Course Co-ordinator (see contact details above) to discuss the aspects on offer. 

Tutorials for this Further Subject will be given in Trinity Term of Year Three. Students will normally write six essays for discussion in tutorials in Trinity Term. The Further Subject will be examined by a three-hour written examination.

Recommended reading:

To obtain a clearer idea of what the course entails, you may browse the visual and textual resources on the Islamic Art and Archaeology site on WebLearn (https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/portal/site/humdiv/orient/iw/iaa/page/home) and should read one or more of the following:

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom, The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250–1800, New Haven and London: Pelican History of Art and Yale University Press, 1994.

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom, Islamic Arts, London: Phaidon, 1997.

Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, Marilyn-Jenkins-Madina, Islamic Art and Architecture 650–1250, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, Pelican History of Art, 2001.

Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius, Islam: Art and Architecture, Cologne: Könemann, 2001.

Robert Hillenbrand, Islamic Art and Architecture, London: Thames and Hudson, 1999.

Robert Irwin, Islamic Art in Context: Art, Architecture and the Literary World, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1997.

Fairchild D. Ruggles, Islamic Art and Visual Culture: An Anthology of Sources, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

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The Rise of the Sufi Orders in the Islamic World, 1200-1500

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT 16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials

Teaching staff:

TBC

Course description:

The rise of institutional Sufism is one of the most significant developments in late medieval Islamic history. In this period, erstwhile loosely organized mystical intellectual currents were organized around influential Sufi intellectuals and distinct communal identities were formulated around specific  lineages. This course examines these developments from two different angles. The first is the analysis of institutional organization. Class discussions will address how human and economic resources were exploited in and around Sufi convents by the members  of Sufi communities and how these resources were used for religious or political purposes. The second approach focuses on the role of Sufi dervishes and tarīqa organizations in the political life of the Islamic world. As the models of piety of the of the high caliphal and earlier middle period eroded or lost their appeal in the post- Mongol political environment, Sufism emerged as a new source of sacrality for  various competing claims to political power. The formation of the Safavid Empire in Iran is one such example that will be studied in detail.

Recommended reading:

Aflākī, Shams al-Dīn Ahmad (fl. 754/1353-4). The feats of the Knowers of God (Manāqeb al- ‘arefīn). Trans. John O’Kane. Leiden etc.: Brill, 2002. 

Birge, John Kingsley. The Bektashi order of dervishes. London: Luzac; Hartford, Conn.: Hartford Seminary Press, 1937. 

DeWeese, Devin. “Yasavī Šayhs in the Timurid Era: Notes on the Social and Political Role of Communal Sufi Affiliations in the 14th and 15th Centuries.” In La civiltà timuride come fenomeno internazionale, ed. Michele Bernardini [= Oriente Moderno (Rome), N.S., 15 (76), No. 2 (1996)], pp. 173-188.

Eich, Thomas. “Abū l-Hudā, the Rifā‘īya and Shiism in Hamīdian Iraq.” Der Islam 80 (2003), pp. 142-152.

Karamustafa, Ahmet T. God’s Unruly Friends: Dervish Groups in the Islamic Later Middle Period, 1200-1550. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994. 

Köprülü, Mehmet Fuat. Islam in Anatolia after the Turkish invasion: Prolegomena. Translated by Gary Leiser. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1993. 

Mazzaoui, Michel M. The origins of the Safawids. Shî‘ism, Sûfism, and the Ġulât. Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1972. 

Ocak, Ahmet Yaşar. “The Wafā’ī tarīqa (Wafā’iyya) during and after the period of the Seljuks of Turkey: a new approach to the history of popular mysticism in Turkey,” in Mésogeios 24-26 (2005), pp. 209-248.

Paul, Jürgen. “Forming a faction: The Himāyat System of Khwaja Ahrar.” IJMES 23 (1991), pp. 533-548.

Savory, Roger. “The Lords of Ardabīl.”   In: Idem, Iran under the Safavids. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980, pp. 1-16.

Trimingham, J[ohn] Spencer. The Sufi Orders in Islam. Oxford: Clarendon Press, [1971] 1973. Wolper,  Ethel  Sara.  Cities  and  Saints.  Sufism  and  the  Transformation  of  Urban  Space  in Medieval Anatolia. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 2003.

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Sufism

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT 16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials

Teaching staff:

Professor Christopher Melchert and Dr Pascal Held

Course description:

Islamic Religion introduced the topic of Sufism. Here is a supplementary survey. Stress will be on the early zuhd period, al-Junayd and the crystallization of Classical Sufism in Baghdad, the Sufi biographical tradition, and Sufi practice and terminology.  

Recommended reading:

Encyclopaedia of Islam, new edn., s.n. ‘taṣawwuf’, by B. Radtke, and ‘zuhd’, by G. Gobillot.

Ernst, Carl W.  The Shambhala Guide to Sufism.  Boston, Mass.: Shambhala, 1997. If you can look past the title, you should find a very respectable introductory survey.

Hujvīrī (d. Lahore, 465/1072-3?). The Kashf al‑Maḥjúb. Translated by Reynold A. Nicholson. E. J. W. Gibb Memorial series 17. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1911. 

Karamustafa, Ahmet T. Sufism: the formative period. The New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys. Edinburgh: University Press, 2007. Even better than Ernst but stopping around 1100.

Al‑Qushayrī (d. Tus, 465/1072).  Al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism = al-Risala al-qushayriyya fi ʿilm al-tasawwuf. Translated by Alexander D. Knysh.  Reading: Garnet, 2007.

Al‑Sulamī (d. Nishapur, 1021). Early Sufi Women. Edited and translated by Rkia Elaroui Cornell. Louisville, Ky.: Fons Vitae, 1999.  

Set texts:

Set Texts

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al-Ghazālī

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT 16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials

Teaching staff:

Dr Nicolai Sinai

Course description:

Apply to Dr Sinai

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Religion and Politics during the Mongol Period

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT, 16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials

Teaching staff:

Dr Nassima Neggaz

Course description:

The further subject on Religion and Politics during the Mongol Period will be offered in Trinity Term. It provides an introduction to the history of the Mongol world empire of the 13th and 14th centuries with classes and background readings on the dynamic relationship between nomadic and sedentary societies; Mongol conquests and civil wars and the formation of the Mongol world empire; an overview over the political history of the “Golden Horde”, the Chagatayid Ulus and the Yüan dynasty; international relations and commerce during the Mongol period, the role of women in Mongol society, and systems of artistic production and patronage in the post- Mongol era. The main focus of this special subject is the Mongol Ilkhanate in the Middle East, and specifically the changing relationship of religion and politics under Mongol rule. While the secondary literature and discussion sessions  provide background information, the primary readings afford first-hand insights into the interaction of the local and Mongol elites after the Mongol conquests; processes of sedentarization and islamization; the emergence of new elites and patronage groups in the post-caliphal age (religious and bureaucratic elites, the military; Sufi groups); and the changing attitude of the local elites toward the Chinggisid legacy over time.

Recommended reading:

Allsen, Thomas T. Culture and Conquest in Mongol Eurasia. Cambridge: 2001. Barthold, W. Turkestan down to the Mongol Invasion. Trans. C.E. Bosworth. London: Luzac & Co., [31968] 41977 [Reprint: Taipei, Southern Materials Center, Inc.].

Black, Anthony. The History of Islamic Political Thought. From the Prophet to the Present. New York: Routledge, 2001.

DeWeese, Devin. Islamization and Native Religion in the Golden Horde. University Park, P.A.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994.

Karamustafa, Ahmet T. God’s Unruly Friends. Dervish Groups in the Islamic Later Middle Period 1200-1550. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994.

Komaroff, Linda, and Stefano Carboni, eds. The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256-1353. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

Köprülü, Mehmed F. Islam in Anatolia after the Turkish Invasion (Prolegomena). Trans. and ed. Gary Leiser. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1993. [1922].

Mazzaoui, Michel M. The origins of the Safawids. Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1972.

Wolper, Ethel Sara. Cities and Saints. Sufism and the Transformation of Urban Space in Medieval Anatolia. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 2003.

PRIMARY TEXTS IN TRANSLATION (SELECTIONS):

Aflākī, Shams al-Dīn Ahmad (fl. 754/1353-4). The feats of the Knowers of God (Manāqeb al- ‘arefīn). Trans. John O’Kane. Leiden etc.: Brill, 2002.

Rashīd al-Dīn Fadl Allāh (d. 718/1318). Compendium of Chronicles. A History of the Mongols. 3 vols. Trans. Wheeler M. Thackston. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 1999.

Rāzī, Najm al-Dīn (d. 654/1256-7). The Path of God’s Bondsmen. Trans. Hamid Algar. Delmar, N.Y.: Caravan Books, 1982.

Set texts:

Set Texts

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Topics in the Study of Language With Reference to the Middle East

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

TT of Year 3, 2-hour lectures weekly for 8 weeks, 4 tutorials (2 in TT, 2 in MT of Year 4), and 4 essays of which one practical assignment to be completed over the summer before MT.

Teaching staff:

Dr Nancy Hawker

Course description:

The course explores major topics in the study of languages, both as the theories and practices were developed in European and North American academia, and as applied to Arabic and other languages in the Middle East. Students who are especially interested in modern Middle Eastern languages other than Arabic (Berber, Hebrew, Kurdish, Persian, Turkish, etc.) will be offered supplementary readings related to these subjects, but the primary focus of the course is Arabic in its varieties. The readings provide insight into a general theoretical proposition that is tested against the case of language use in the Middle East.

The study of the Middle East has been formed both by traditional “orientalist” versus “nationalist” contentions, and by more modern research, all of which can be consulted in the further readings provided at the beginning of the course.  

By the end of the course, students will be able to recognise the various usages of Arabic and other languages in the Middle East. They will be acquainted with the relevant academic debates in sociolinguistics and Middle East studies, and will have learnt how to undertake their own applied analysis of a text or speech. They will gain skills that can be useful also outside academia through the experience of data collection, the different methods of which will be discussed.

 

Recommended reading:

Recommended basic readings prior to the course:

  • Jonathan Owens, "A house of sound structure, of marvellous form and proportion" in The Oxford Handbook of Arabic Linguistics ed. by Jonathan Owens, OUP 2013, pp.1-22
  • Gerard Van Herk, What is Sociolinguistics? Wiley-Blackwell 2012

 

Readings related to lecture topics (alphabetically):

  • Abel-Jawad, H. (2000) “A Linguistic and Sociopragmatic and Cultural Study of Swearing in Arabic” in: Language, Culture and Curriculum 13, 2
  • Al-Wer, E. and Herin, B. (2011) “The lifecycle of Qaf in Jordan” in: Langage et société 4/138
  • Avram, A. (2010) “An Outline of Romanian Pidgin Arabic” in: Journal of Language Contact 3: 20-38
  • Bakir, M. (1986) “Sex differences in the approximation to Standard Arabic: a case study” in: Anthropological Linguistics 28: 1
  • Cadora, F.J. (1992) Bedouin, Village and Urban Arabic: An Ecolinguistic Study. Brill
  • Cameron, D., E. Frazer, P. Harvey, B. Rampton and K. Richardson (1992) Researching Language: Issues of Power and Method. Routledge
  • Chomsky, N. (2002) On Nature and Language. Cambridge University Press
  • Gordon, E. (1997) “Sex, speech and stereotypes: why women use prestige forms more than men” in: Language in Society 26: 47-63
  • Hawker, N. (2013) Palestinian-Israeli Contact and Linguistic Practices. Routledge. Chaps 4 and 5
  • Holes, C. (1993) “The use of variation: A study of the political speeches of Gamal Abd al-Nasir” in: Eid, M. and Holes, C. (eds), Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics: Papers from the Annual Symposium on Arabic Linguistics. Volume V. John Benjamins, 13-45
  • Ingham, B. (2006) “Language and identity: the perpetuation of dialects” in: Chatty, Dawn, (ed.), Nomadic Societies in the Middle East and North Africa: Entering the 21st Century. Brill, 523-538
  • Jaffé, A. (2007) “Discourses of endangerment: contexts and consequences of essentializing discourses” in: Duchene, A. and Heller, M. (eds) Discourses of Endangerment: Interests and Ideology in the Defense of Languages. Continuum, 57-75.
  • Kosover, M. (1966) Arabic Elements in Palestinian Yiddish: The Old Ashkenazic Jewish Community in Palestine, Its History and Its Language. Rubin Mass
  • Milroy, J. and Milroy, L. (1991) Authority in Language: Investigating Language Prescription and Standardisation. Routledge
  • Omar, M. (2007) The Acquisition of Egyptian Arabic as a Native Language. Georgetown
  • Owens, J. (2009) “Introduction: The once and future study of information structure in Arabic: from Jurjaani to Grice” in: Owens, J. and ElGibali, A. (eds) Information Structure in Spoken Arabic. Routledge, 20-39
  • Searle, J. (1965) “What is a Speech Act?” in: Black, M. (ed.) Philosophy in America. Cornell University Press
  • Thomason, S. G. and ElGibali, A. (1986) “Before the Lingua Franca: Pidginized Arabic in the Eleventh Century A.D.” in: Lingua 68: 317-349
  • Versteegh, K. (1997) The Arabic Linguistic Tradition. Routledge
  • Wilmsen, D. (2009) “Understatement, euphemism, and circumlocution in Egyptian Arabic: Cooperation in conversational dissembling” In: Owens, J. and ElGibali, A. (eds) Information Structure in Spoken Arabic. Routledge, 243-59
  • Zuckermann, G. (2008) ““Realistic Prescriptivism”: The Academy of the Hebrew Language, its Campaign of “Good Grammar” and Lexpionage, and the Native Israeli Speakers” in: Israel Studies in Language and Society 1.1: 135-154.

 

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The Middle East in the Age of Empire, 1830–1970

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3,  HT 8 hours lectures, TT 4 tutorials

Teaching staff:

Dr Eugene Rogan

Course description:

This course will introduce students to the modern history of the Middle East and North Africa, focusing on the social and political history of the Arab world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. From the occupation of Algiers in 1830 through the partition of the Ottoman empire in 1919, the Arab world struggled to come to terms with its changing position in a new imperial world order; the struggle to establish state sovereignty and national self-determination would prove no easier in the twentieth century. Throughout this period, however, the course emphasises how Arab men and women, far from becoming merely ‘victims of history’, adapted to changing circumstances and articulated their aspirations. The region will be approached from its ‘peripheries’ in the Gulf and North Africa, beginning with the changing commercial and political relations between British India and the coasts of the Arabian peninsula, and between the states of the Maghrib and southern Europe, in the early nineteenth century, and concluding with the independence of the Gulf states in 1971. Along the way, we shall consider the internal transformation and eventual breakup of the Ottoman empire, the intense European colonisation of North Africa and its more ‘indirect’ imperialism elsewhere, the emergence and ambiguities of Arab nationalism, the struggle over Israel and Palestine, and the ‘end of an era’ marked on one hand by the Suez war and the Algerian revolution, on the other by the death of Nasser and the ‘Black September’ expulsion of the PLO from Jordan.   

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A Modern Islamic Thinker (e.g. Sayyid Qutb, Mohamed Talbi, Rashid Rida)

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT 16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials

Teaching staff:

Mr Ron Nettler

Course description:

Apply to Mr Nettler

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Modern Arabic Literature (The theme offered may be subject to change)

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT (16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials)

Teaching staff:

Dr Mohammed-Salah Omri

Course description:

The further subject on Modern Arabic Literature will be organised each Trinity Term around a specific theme, rather than a genre-based approach. In Trinity Term 2013, the theme proposed is “The City in Modern Arabic Literature”. Representations of the cities of Beirut, Alexandria and Cairo and their functions in literature will be studied through three novels by Ilyas Khuri, Edwar al-Kharrat, and Najib Mahfuz. All three novels are translated into English, but significant sections of the novels in Arabic will be studied and analysed in class. City imagery will also be studied in poems by Ahmad `Abd al-Mu`ti Hijazi, Badr Shakir al- Sayyab, and Amal Dunqul. All poems will be read and translated in class. Reading lists will be provided in addition to the recommended background reading.

Recommended reading:

Allen, R.: The Arabic Novel; an Historical and Critical Introduction  (Manchester, 1982).

Badawi, M. M. : Modern Arabic Literature and the West (London, 1985)

Benjamin,  W.  :  The  Arcades  Project    (English  trans.  by  H.  Eiland  and  K.  Mclaughlin, Cambridge, 1999)

Jayyusi, S. K. : Trends and Movements in Modern Arabic Poetry, 2 vols. (Leiden, 1977).

Meyer, S.G. : The Experimental Arabic Novel (New York 2001).

Williams, R.: The Country and the City (London, 1973).

Set texts:

Set Texts

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Society and Culture in the Middle East

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, Lectures in Hilary and Trinity Terms, 4 tutorials in TT.

Teaching staff:

Dr Walter Armbrust

Course description:

The paper focuses on the society and culture of the modern Arab world. The main academic literature for the course is drawn from the discipline of social anthropology, but the paper also includes readings from literary studies, political science, sociology and history. A number of primary texts are also relevant to the paper. Topics covered will include notions of family in the region; moral rhetorics of honor, shame, and modesty; marriage; particularism and universalism in Islam; Islam and modernity; Islamist political movements; writing and recitation; language and standardized identity; national identity; ethnicity and the nation-state; "globalization," the state, and neo-liberalism. The paper will emphasize social anthropological perspectives on the modern Arab world, but will incorporate Arabic-language texts when there is demand for them.

Recommended reading:

Abu-Lughod, Lila.  1987. Veiled Sentiments:Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Asad, Talal.  1993. Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Bourdieu,  Pierre. 1965.  "The Sentiment of Honor in Kabyle Society." in J.G. Peristiany ed. Honour and Shame: the values of Mediterranean Society.  London: Weidenfeld.

Deeb, Lara.  2006.  An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi‘i Lebanon.  Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Joseph, Suad. 1994.  "Brother/Sister Relationships: Connectivity, Love, and Power in the Reproduction of Patriarchy in Lebanon." American Ethnologist 21 (1): 50-73.

Özyürek, Esra. 2006. Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Salamandra, Christa.  2004.  A New Old Damascus: Authenticity and Distinction in Urban Syria.  Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.

Shryock, Andrew. 1997. Nationalism and the Genealogical Imagination: Oral History and Textual Authority in Tribal Jordan. Berkeley : University of California Press.

Winegar, Jessica. 2006. Creative Reckonings: The Politics of Art and Culture in Contemporary Egypt. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

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The Biography of Mohammad

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT, 16 hours lectures, 4 tutorials

Teaching staff:

TBA

Course description:

This class will acquaint students with the broad outlines of Muhammad’s biography as told by traditional sīrah works, with the debate about its historicity as well as different scholarly methods employed to assess the latter, and with later transformations of the sīrah tradition up to 20th century authors such as M. Ḥ. Haykal and Ṭāhā Ḥusayn. Classes will be devoted to Arabic readings and tutorials to the discussion of essays based on important secondary literature.

Recommended reading:

– Uri Rubin, The Eye of the Beholder: The Life of Muḥammad as Viewed by the Early Muslims, Princeton 1995.

– Jonathan E. Brockopp (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Muḥammad, Cambridge 2010.

– Harald Motzki (ed.), The Biography of Muḥammad: The Issue of the Sources, Leiden 2000.

Set texts:

No candidates for examinations in 2015. 

(i) The debate about the authenticity of the biography of Muḥammad: methods, sources, positions (1 session)

(ii) Selected readings from classical sīrah sources (6 sessions)

(iii) Readings from modern Arabic literature (1 session; these will be chosen so as to correspond to the classical texts read before)

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The Ethos of the jāhilīya in the Mu’allaqa of Imru’al-Qays

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, TT, 16 hours classes; 4 tutorials/essays

Teaching staff:

Dr Nadia Jamil

Course description:

The Muallaqa of Imru’ al-Qays is probably the most famous poem in Arabic literature. It belongs to the body of verse ascribed to the jāhilīya, the ‘period of ignorance’ before the Qur`anic revelation in the 7th  century AD, which together constitute a

dynamic embodiment of the corporate attitudes of the ancient Arabs, their ideal system of manly virtue (murūwa), the nature of honour and human responsibility in a world projected as a theatre of conflict. With the interpretation of the key poem as its ultimate aim, this course surveys a range of primary and secondary sources, to introduce a number of controversial topics and consider them in the light of traditional and modern perceptions on early Arabian society and thought: (i) the transformative potential of jāhilī poetry, its healing and poison, ‘truth’ and ‘lies’;

(ii) the elements of murūwa and its position vis a vis Fate and religion; (iii) poetical language, figures and themes as a symbolic encoding of ethical debate and a projection of a coherent system of ideas before Islam – covering Fate, death and redemption; gambling and wine; war and women; the shape of the cosmos and the mind of a man; (iv) the questions of poetical authenticity and coherence.

Recommended reading:

Ringgren H. Studies in Arabian Fatalism, Uppsala 1955

Bravmann M.M. The Spiritual Background of Early Islam, Leiden, 1972

Fares B. “Muru’a” EI2, VII

Fares B. L’Honneur chez les Arabes avant l’Islam, Paris, 1932

Goldziher, I. Muhammedanische Studien, i, 1-40, Halle 1889

Izutsu T. God and Man in the Koran; Semantics of the Koranic Weltanschaung, Tokyo 1964

Homerin T.E. “Echoes of a Thirsty Owl: Death and Afterlife in Pre-Islamic Poetry”, JNES 44 (1985), 165-84

Van Gelder G.J.H. Beyond the Line: Classical Arabic Literary Critics on the Coherence and Unity of the Poem, Leiden, 1982

_ “Genres in Collision: Nasib and Hija’”, JAL, 21.1, 1990, 14-25

Jacobi R. “The Origins of the Qasida Form”, in Sperl S. and Shackle C., edd., Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa, I, Leiden, 1996.

Abu Deeb K. “Towards a Structural Analysis of Pre-Islamic Poetry”, IJMES 6 (1975), 148-84

_ “Towards a Structural Analysis of Pre-Islamic Poetry (II): The Eros Vision”, Edebiyat I

(1976), 3-69

Jamil N. “Playing for Time: maysir-gambling in early Arabic Poetry”, in Hoyland R. and Kennedy P.F., edd., Islamic Reflections, Arabic Musings: Studies in Honour of Alan Jones, (Gibb Memorial Trust 2004), 48-90

Arberry A.J. The Seven Odes: The First Chapter in Arabic Literature, London, 1957 Jones A. Early Arabic Poetry. Volune Two: Select Ode, Reading, 1996

Montgomery J.E. The Vagaries of the Qasidah.The Tradition and Practice of early Arabic Poetry, Cambridge, 1997

Stetkevych S.P. The Mute Immortals Speak, Ithaca 1993, Chapter 7.

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Harems, Homes and Streets: Space and Gender in the Middle East

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

TT, up to 16 hrs lecture/seminar, 6 hrs tutorials (4 x 1.5 hrs). Four essays/presentations plus long essay. 

Teaching staff:

Professor Marilyn Booth

Course description:

This Special Subject focuses on representations of space, place and gendered bodies in European Orientalist writings and modern Middle Eastern literary texts (Arabic and Persian, and possibly Turkish, in translation). We read literary texts against notions of ‘the harem’ and theoretical readings on gender and space.

Within Muslim societies, social segregation along gender lines has varied tremendously according to region, class, and time. Yet segregation and the veil also became resonant symbols as intellectuals in these societies struggled to define a modernity that would pose a successful challenge to colonial rule and to competing indigenous notions of social organization. Muslim women have explored the meanings and impacts of segregation through memoirs, fiction, poetry, and film.

We will begin by reading and viewing some European representations of gendered seclusion and harem life, as well as by reading selectively from theoretical literature on the social construction and gendering of space. We will also consider the historical and theological bases for gendered segregation in Muslim communities.

We will consider seclusion as lived reality through reading historical essays on earlier periods (the early Islamic period, the Ottoman empire) and more recent memoirs, which also provide a critique of seclusionary practices that emerged with the rhetorics of modernity.

Finally, we will read fiction through which Muslim women of the past century have interrogated, critiqued, and at times lauded practices of gender segregation.

All literary texts are offered in translation. Students who wish to read texts in Arabic, Turkish or Persian are encouraged to explore these in work for the final extended essay and/or the shorter tutorial essays.

 

Aims of the course include:

  1. developing familiarity with analytical perspectives drawn from the study of Orientalism, cultural encounter, and gender regimes, specifically concerning representations of space as a gendered concept
  2. recognizing major outlines of current debates on gender and space, and thinking critically about their applicability (or not) to Middle Eastern and/or majority-Muslim contexts
  3. gaining knowledge of key institutions and terms concerning the historical representation of women and gender in majority-Muslim societies, in particular the concept of harim and its historical and literary deployments, but with an awareness of how notions and practices concerning gender and space are modulated by historical specificities, generating different practices across time and space
  4. developing an ability to critically consider and compare an array of fictional and memoiristic works written originally in Arabic, Farsi, English and French (and read in English translation) that address issues of spatial representation and gendered experience

Special Subjects

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Qur’an

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT, 16 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, up to 6 essays. 

Teaching staff:

Dr Nicolai Sinai

Course description:

The course is designed to introduce participants to the study of the Qurʾānic texts in their historical context of emergence and/or to the Islamic exegetical tradition.

Recommended reading:

– Neal Robinson, Discovering the Qur’an: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text, 2nd edition, Washington, D. C.: Georgetown University Press, 2003.

– Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Qurʾān, Cambridge 2006.

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The Transformation of Ideas from the jāhilīya to Early Islam in Early Arabic Poetry

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, Michaelmas Term as a Special Subject. 2hrs of classes per week; 6 hours of tutorials (4 x 1½) = 4 essays/ assignments

Teaching staff:

Dr Nadia Jamil

Course description:

Familiarity with the topics covered in Further subject 'The Ethos of the jāhilīya in the Mu’allaqa of Imru’al-Qays' is desirable. The course surveys a range of materials from key poets of the late jāhilīya, and through the first hundred years of Islam. The focus is on mapping continuity and change, the restructuring of pre-Islamic ideals and visions with the gradual emergence of Islamic society.

DETAILS OF TEACHING

For Paper 1: The restructuring of pre-Islamic ideals and society

Wks 1 & 2 (2 x 2 hour class). The transformation of ethical values; contrary projections of the ideal man

Wks 3 & 4 (2 x 2 hour class). From pre-Islamic to Islamic Ruler, universal epicentre, link to redemption; the competition for legitimacy.

For Paper 2: Changing perceptions of Time and Reality

Wks 5 & 6 (2 x 2 hour class). God and Fate; the implications of a life after death.

Wks 7 & 8 (2 x 2 hour class) Qur’anic accretions: the earnest, the opportunistic and the subversive.

Recommended reading:

Jacobi R. “Time and Reality in Nasib and Ghazal”, JAL 16 (1985), 1-17

_ “The Khayal Motif in Early Arabic Poetry”, Oriens 32 (1990),, 50-64

Crone P. and Hinds M God’s Caliph: Religious Authority in the First Centuries of Islam, Cambridge, 1986

Guillaume A. trans. The Life of Muhammad. A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, Lahore and Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1974

Jamil N. “Caliph and Qutb. Poetry as a Source for interpreting the Transformation of the Byzantine Cross on Steps on Umayyad coinage”, Bayt al-Maqdis, Jerusalem and Early Islam, ed. J. Johns, Oxford Studies in Islamic Art, IX. Part Two (Oxford University Press, 1999), 11-57

Kennedy  P.  F.  The  Wine  Song  in  Classical  Arabic  Poetry:  Abu  Nuwas  and  the  Literary Tradition, Oxford, 1997

Stetkevych  S.  P.  The  Poetics  of  Islamic  Legitimacy:  Myth,  Gender  and  Ceremony  in  the Classical Arabic Ode, Indiana, 2002

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Topics in Islamic Law

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT. 16 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, 6 essays

Teaching staff:

Dr Christopher Melchert and Dr Pascal Held

Course description:

Islamic Religion introduced the topic of Islamic law. Here is a survey in greater depth. Students will learn to find problems in Islamic law, look up names in biographical dictionaries, look up names in standard reference works (e.g. GAL, GAS, Kahhalah), and look up how to point names in medieval reference works (e.g. Dhahabî, Mushtabih). We shall read some of both fiqh, the genre that lays out rules, and usul al-fiqh, the genre that justifies the method of inferring rules; i.e. jurisprudence strictly speaking. The exact topics covered may be shaped to fit student interest.

Recommended reading:

Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi (d. Baghdad, 476/1083). Kitāb al-Lumà fi usūl al-fiqh. Le Livre des Rais illuminant les fondements de la compréhension de la Loi. Traité de théorie légale musulmane. Translated and edited with introduction by Eric Chaumont. Studies in Comparative Legal History. Berkeley: Robbins Collection, 1999. A translation with copious notes and a useful bibliography.

Ibn Rushd (d. Merrakech, 595/1198). The Distinguished Jurist's Primer: A Translation of Bidāyat al-mujtahid. Translated by Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee; reviewed by Muhammad Abdul Rauf. Great Books of Islamic Civilisation. 2 vols. Reading: Garnet, 1994-6. Bodleian Arab. An unusual hybrid of furu` and usul, showing how different Sunni schools justify their distinct rules.

Schacht, Joseph. An Introduction to Islamic Law. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964. 

Weiss, Bernard G.  The Spirit of Islamic Law. The Spirit of the Laws. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1998. OI BP144 Wei. A mellow account of what it says: divine sovereignty, the textualist bent, probabilism, &c.

Set texts:

Set Texts

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Learning and Culture in Baghdad, 800-900

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT. 32 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, up to 6 essays

Teaching staff:

TBC

Course description:

Not currently offered

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Theology and Philosophy in the Islamic World

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT. 16 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, up to 6 essays.

Teaching staff:

TBA

Course description:

The course will introduce students to the historical development of, and some of the main concepts and ideas discussed in, Arabic philosophy and/or Islamic theology (kalām). Depending upon students’ interests, the paper will focus on a selection of the following topics:

  1. The beginnings of Islamic theological speculation in the Umayyad age;
  2. Muʿtazilism;
  3. early Ashʿarism until ca. 1100;
  4. Arabic Philosophy up to al-Suhrawardī (d. 1191);
  5. al-Ghazālī and later Ashʿarism.

Classes will be devoted to presentations by the tutor and to reading excerpts from the set texts, which will be chosen in consultation with students. Tutorials will offer an opportunity for wider explorations based on the relevant secondary literature.

Recommended reading:

– Peter Adamson and Richard C. Taylor (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Cambridge 2005.

– Peter Adamson (ed.), Interpreting Avicenna: Critical Essays. Cambridge 2013.

– Gutas, Dimitri, “The Study of Arabic Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: An Essay in the Historiography of Arabic Philosophy”, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 29/1 (2002), pp. 5–25.

– Jon McGinnis, Avicenna, Oxford 2010.

– Shlomo Pines, “Philosophy,” in: The Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 2 B: Islamic Society and Civilization, ed. by P. M. Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton and Bernard Lewis, pp. 780­-823.

– Josef van Ess, “Muʿtazilah,” Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed., ed. T. Gale

Set texts:

SET TEXTS

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Medieval Sufi Thought

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT. 16 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, up to 6 essays

Teaching staff:

Professor Christopher Melchert, Mr Ron Nettler

Course description:

Similar to the Further Subject but in greater depth. The exact topics covered may be shaped to fit student interest.

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‘Slave dynasties’ in Islam: from the Ghaznavids to the Mamlūk Sultanate

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT. 16 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, up to 6 essays

Teaching staff:

Dr Judith Pfeiffer

Course description:

Over the past fifty years, and especially over the past decade, ‘Mamluk Studies’ have become a thriving field of scholarly enquiry. This course introduces and discusses the terminology used for and the offices held by ‘slaves’ in Islamic societies, and focuses on such cases where slaves furnished the ruling elites. In the most famous case, the Mamluks of Syria and Egypt, the dynasty lasted for more then 250 years, and provided one of the richest literatures in Arabic of the later middle period of Islamic history.

Recommended reading:

Ayalon, David. “The Mamluks: The Mainstay of Islam’s Military Might.” In Slavery in the Islamic Middle East, ed. S.E. Marmon, Princeton: Markus Wiener, 1999, pp. 89-117.

Brett, Michael. “The Origins of the Mamluk Military System in the Fatimid Period.” Proceedings of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd International Colloquium, Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras, eds. U. Vermeulen and D. De Smet, Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 1995. (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 73), pp. 39-52.

Ehrenkreutz, Andrew S. “Strategic Implications of the Slave Trade Between Genoa and Mamluk Egypt in the Second Half of the Thirteenth Century.” The Islamic Middle East, 700-1900, edited by Abraham L. Udovitch, 335-345. Princeton: Darwin, 1981.

Gordon, Matthew. The breaking of a thousand swords: a history of the Turkish military of Samarra, A.H. 200-275/815-889 C.E. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001.

Northrup, Linda S. From slave to sultan: the career of al-Mansur Qalawun and the consolidation of Mamluk rule in Egypt and Syria (678-689 A.H./1279-1290 A.D.). Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 1998.

Holt, P. M. “An-Nasir Muhammad b. Qalawun (684-741/1285-1341): His Ancestry, Kindred, and Affinity.” Proceedings of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd International Colloquium, Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras, eds. U. Vermeulen and D. De Smet, Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 1995, (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 73), pp. 313-324.

Irwin, Robert. The Middle East in the Middle Ages: The Early Mamluk Sultanate 1250-1382. London: Croom Helm, 1986.

Richards, D. S. “Mamluk Amirs and Their Families and Households.” The Mamluks in Egyptian Politics and Society, eds. Thomas Philipp and Ulrich Haarmann, 32-54. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

An extremely useful research tool is the “Mamluk Bibliography,” an on-going project of the Middle East Documentation Center at the University of Chicago. Its online website is http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/mideast/mamluk/

Set texts:

Set Texts

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A Special Subject from the Field of Islamic Art, Architecture, Numismatics or Archaeology, 500-c. 1900

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT, 8 tutorials (6 with essays; 2 preparing for a 6,000-word extended essay for examination), plus lectures and/or classes as available.

Teaching staff:

Course-coordinator: Prof. Zeynep Yürekli-Görkay. Other participating staff: Dr Teresa Fitzherbert, Prof. Jeremy Johns, Dr Luke Treadwell and the yet-to-be-elected I.M. Pei Professor (vice Prof. Oliver Watson who retires at the end of September 2016). Please contact the Course Co-ordinator zeynep.yurekli-gorkay@orinst.ox.ac.uk to register for this course.

Course description:

This Special Subject offers the opportunity to select one medium (e.g. architecture, ceramics, numismatics, painting, etc.) or one period (e.g. Umayyad, Mamlūk, Ottoman, etc.) in the art, architecture and archaeology of Islamic societies from the formative period until the early modern period. ‘Art, architecture and archaeology’ is understood in the widest possible sense to include all material and visual culture. Students will choose a medium or period to complement their interests and other papers, but the topics offered for study will depend upon the availability of teaching staff in any given year. The examination combines: (Paper 8) an overview of the medium or period taught through a series of six weekly essays and tutorials, and by lectures and/or classes as available, and examined by a three-hour written examination; and (Paper 9) an independent and in-depth study of one topic from the selected medium or period, to be taught through two tutorials and examined by means of a 6,000 word extended essay. While the overview (Paper 8) necessarily follows a prescribed course of tutorials, the topic for independent study (Paper 9) will be chosen by the candidate from a question paper published by the examiners on the Friday of the fourth week of Michaelmas Term in the year of the examination.

Recommended reading:

To obtain a clearer idea of what the course entails, you may browse the visual and textual resources on the Islamic Art and Archaeology site on WebLearn (https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/portal/site/humdiv/orient/iw/iaa/page/home) and should read one or more of the following:

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom, The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250–1800, New Haven and London: Pelican History of Art and Yale University Press, 1994.

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom, Islamic Arts, London: Phaidon, 1997.

Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, Marilyn-Jenkins-Madina, Islamic Art and Architecture 650–1250, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, Pelican History of Art, 2001.

Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius, Islam: Art and Architecture, Cologne: Könemann, 2001.

Robert Hillenbrand, Islamic Art and Architecture, London: Thames and Hudson, 1999.

Robert Irwin, Islamic Art in Context: Art, Architecture and the Literary World, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1997.

Fairchild D. Ruggles, Islamic Art and Visual Culture: An Anthology of Sources, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

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The Ottomans, Islam and the Arab World 1300-1566

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT 8 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, up to 6 essays

Teaching staff:

TBC

Course description:

This paper studies Ottoman history from the emergence of Osman’s principality in 1300 to its transformation into a world empire in the sixteenth century, with particular emphasis on how the Ottomans absorbed and adapted Turkic and Muslim political traditions. Topics will include: the nature of the early Ottoman state and the extensive historiographical debate on the “ghazi thesis”; the development of Ottoman provincial and central administration, particularly through the extension of the slave system; imperial ideology and the nature of sultanic authority; religious, cultural and political influences from Mamluk Egypt and Safavid Iran upon the definition of Ottoman Sunnism. There will be a special consideration of the nature of Ottoman rule in the Arab provinces after 1517 and on the place of the early Ottoman empire in Islamic history.

Recommended reading:

Finkel, Caroline. Osman’s dream (London 2005)

Har-El, S. Struggle for domination in the Middle East: the Ottoman-Mamluk war 1485-91 (Leiden 1995)

Imber, Colin. The Ottoman empire, 1300-1650: the structure of power (New York 2002)

Inalcık, Halil. The Ottoman empire, the classical age 1300-1600 (London: 1989, c1973) Kafadar, Cemal. Between two worlds: the construction of the Ottoman state (Berkeley 1995)

Karamustafa, Ahmet T. God’s unruly friends (Salt Lake City 1995), ch. 6 ‘Dervish groups in the Ottoman empire 1450-1550’

Lindner, R P. Nomads and Ottomans in medieval Anatolia (Bloomington, Indiana 1983) Lowry, H J. The nature of the early Ottoman state (New York 2003)

Necipoğlu, Gülru. Architecture, Ceremonial and Power: Topkapı Palace in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (Cambridge, MA 1991)

Set texts:

No candidate taking the exams in 2015. 

Selections from the following:

English translations of significant historical and literary texts will be provided as appropriate

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Themes in Modern Arabic Literature (Normally, an uptake of at least two students is desired for this to run)

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT and HT. 16 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, up to 6 essays

 

Teaching staff:

Dr Mohammed-Salah Omri

Course description:

Literature and authoritarianism

الأدب والاستبداد    

Literature entertains a complex relationship with authority and authoritarianism. There is considerable traffic of the concept of authoritarianism in both ways. (See authoritarian fictions for example). In the Arab world, literature has been at the forefront of unmasking the working of authoritarianism. At the same time, for literature born under authoritarian rule, reproducing the system is a distinct possibility and is in fact something traceable through careful study.  Literature courts power, constructs it and even props it.

The paper will start with two lectures on authoritarianism and the arts, then moves to detailed study of salient parts of al-Kawakibi’s seminal treatise on the subject. It will then study in detail how literature engaged with authoritarian rule in terms of narrative strategies, language, metaphors and themes. The literary texts themselves span a number of genres and time periods as well as national settings. The aim is to trace the changing and the constant elements in literary engagements with authoritarianism through close reading of texts in the Arabic original, and to develop critical, theoretically-informed approaches to the subject.  

Considerable attention will be paid to exploring the texts as works of literature.  Students are encouraged to explore additional configurations of the theme in other writers in their tutorial essays and in the long research essay.

Format

All seminar-style classes are based on readings of primary texts as well as theoretical and critical approaches to them and to the theme. 

In-depth reading and interpretation of primary texts within a specific theme.  Critical reading of texts supported by theory. 

Tutorials: these will be essay based. But students will not read their essays in class.  Instead, each student will present the main argument orally.  Discussion will center on issues arising from essays as well as from readings.  Feedback on essays themselves will be written and oral.  Essays must be submitted ahead of the tutorial, and will be returned to students at the end of the tutorial.   Feedback will focus on to structure, argument and overall assessment of essay in terms of class band. Tutorials aim to improve student presentation skills, improve discussion and debate skills, and build measurable progress in these skills and knowledge of the subject over time.  Tutorial in week 6 will be devoted to discussing the long essay, bibliography etc.  

Assessment

The Special Subject will be examined by one three-hour essay paper (three essays from a choice of questions) and one extended essay of 5000 words to be submitted at a set deadline.

Schedule.  

2 hours per week for 4 weeks, then one hour each, starting in week 5 and end by the end of the paper (Week 3 of HT).  An introductory lecture will take place in 0th week  

Schedule

MT

Week 0   Intro and syllabus  (2 hours)

Week 1 locating al Kawakibi (Hill)  (2 hours)

Week 2 al-Kawakibi (2 hours)

Week 3  Tutorial 1: Darweesh/close reading for comprehension

Week 4  Darweesh (2 hours) Essay question due.

Week 5  (1 hour) Wannous

Week 6   Wannous

Week 7  Idris

Week 8  Idris

HT

Week 1  Awlad / tutorials

Week 2  Awlad / tutorials

Week 3  Summative essay. Tutorial.  

 

Recommended reading:

Themes and relevant texts to be read and discussed:

The nature of authoritarianism : Al-Kawakibi’s tabai’ al-istibdad.

The authoritarian mind:  The King is the King (a play by Wannous).

Authoritarianism and language: Mahmud Darwish, The dictator’s rhyming speeches.

Policing the Body: al-askari al-aswad (Yusuf idris). 

Poetics of Resistance to authoritarianism: Tunisia /Awlad Ahmad (selected poems)

Additional reading recommended for tutorials (indicative).

Zakaria Tamir: “Tiger on the tenth day”

Himmish,  majnun al-Hukm (The Theocrat). 

Ghalib Halasa: Three faces of Baghdad

Haddad; Saadawi…

Further Reading list (indicative and partial):

Hannah Arendt (extracts) from The Origins of totalitarianism.

Authoritarian Fictions: the ideological novel as a literary genre, Susan Rubin Suleiman (Columbia UP, 1983; 1993 Princeton Edition).

“Authoritarianism and its adversaries in the Arab world”  Review article by Jill Crystal, (http://www.jstor.org/stable/2950675?origin=JSTOR-pdf)

“Egypt’s Police State in the Work Idris and Mahfouz” http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/90670805/egypts-police-state-work-idris-mahfouzOmri, “A Revolution of Dignity and Poetry” (boundary 2, 39, 2012). http://boundary2.dukejournals.org/content/39/1/137.full.pdf+html

Debating Arab Authoritarianism. Dynamics and Durability in Non-Democratic Regimes, Editor(s): SCHLUMBERGER, Olivier  (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2007)

“Interpretations of Kawakibi’s thought, 1950-1980s”, Rozen Raz (2006) Middle Eastern Studies 32:1 , 179-190.

Set texts:

Set Texts

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Modern Islamic Thought in the Middle East

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT. 16 hours lectures, 6 tutorials, up to 6 essays

Teaching staff:

Mr Ron Nettler

Course description:

Apply to Mr Nettler

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Topics in the January 25th Revolution

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 3, HT, 4 tutorials/4 essays

Teaching staff:

Dr. W Armbrust

Course description:

The paper looks at the January 25th Revolution as a social and historical turning point in Egypt’s history.  The following topics will be covered:

  • the symbolic importance of Tahrir Square
  • revolutionary repertoires of contention (forms and organization of protest)
  • structural factors behind the January 25th Revolution
  • the Muslim Brotherhood before and during the Revolution
  • the status of the armed forces in Egyptian society and in the Revolution
  • the anthropology of revolution
  • the city and Revolution
  • media and the Revolution

 

Recommended reading:

Full syllabus: https://db.tt/Q6CmCYkx

Selected primary texts:

  • Abu al-Gheit, Muhammad.  2011. Al-Fuqara’ Awwalan Ya Wilad al-Kalb, originally posted in Abu-al-Gheit’s blog: http://gedarea.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/normal-0-false-false-false.html; images preserved on a FB page: http://tinyurl.com/byv7vrf). 
  • Bakri, Mustafa.  2013.  Al-Jaysh wa al-Ikhwan.  Cairo: Dar al-Misriyya al-Lubnaniyya.
  • Fayez, Samih.  2013.  Jannat al-Ikhwan.  Cairo: Dar al-Tanwir.
  • Tamam, Husam.  2013.  al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun: al-Sanawat ma Qabl al-Thaura.  Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq.
  • Khirbawi, Tharwat.  2013.  Sirr al-Ma‘bad: Al-Asrar al-Khafiyya li-Jama‘at al-Ikhwan al-Musllimin.  Cairo: Dar Nahdat Misr.
  • Prince, Mona.  2012.  Ismi Thaura.  Cairo: Mona Prince.
  • Youtube Videos: A History of the January 25th Revolution through Videos (mostly unsubtitled); https://db.tt/sbCIrCpG
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Writing Islamic History, 1250-1500: from Palaeography to Historiography

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, MT 2 hours of classes/week, 6 tutorials and 6 essays, assignments, etc.

Teaching staff:

Dr Nassima Naggaz

Course description:

The further subject on WRITING ISLAMIC HISTORY offers an introduction to the ‘tools of the trade’ for advanced historical research in a combined packet, namely as an overview over the narrative sources available for the period in question (‘historiography,’ to be assessed through essays) and training in palaeography (to be assessed through the transcription of, translation of, and comments on gobbets from manuscripts). While the class focuses primarily on historiography, it also stresses the importance of documents and material culture. Selections of published and unpublished historical as well as theoretical works are read and translated in class. An exercise in the use of the – mostly Mamluk – biographical dictionaries of the 14th and 15th centuries, including a comparison of the representations in these with that of the Ilkhanid vizier and historian Rashīd al-Dīn (d. 718/318, read in translation), is also part of the class. Background information and reading lists will be provided in class in addition to the recommended background reading as appropriate. Copies of the primary texts will be provided in class; no previous knowledge in paleography is required.

WRITING ISLAMIC HISTORY is examined in two papers. The first paper stresses the palaeographic skills and interpretation of the primary sources in Arabic. This is the take-home paper written during Michaelmas Term of the year of examination, to be submitted to Schools no later than noon of Friday of 0th Week of Hilary Term. The second paper is based on essays on the history and historiography of the period and will be the one examined in Schools at the end of Trinity Term of the year of examination.

Recommended reading:

Déroche, F., and MI Waley. Islamic Codicology: An Introduction to the Study of Manuscripts in Arabic Script. London: Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, 2005. EI2, “Khatṭ”.

Gacek, Adam. Arabic Manuscripts. A Vademecum for Readers. Leiden: Brill, 2009.

————. The Arabic Manuscript Tradition: A Glossary of Technical Terms and Bibliography – Supplement. Leiden: Brill, 2008.

Guo, Li. “Mamluk Historiographic Studies: The State of the Art.” Mamluk Studies Review 1 (1997), pp. 15-43.

————. Early Mamluk Syrian historiography : Al-Yūnīnī's Dhayl Mirʼāt al-zaman. Leiden: Brill, 1998.

Hodgson, Marshall G.S. The Venture of Islam. Vol. 2. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, pp. 371-574.

Humphreys, Stephen. Islamic History – A Framework for Inquiry. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991, pp. 4-65.

Kennedy, Hugh (ed.). The Historiography of Islamic Egypt, c. 950-1800. Leiden: Brill, 2001.

Little, Donald P. An Introduction to Mamluk Historiography: An Analysis of Arabic Annalistic and Biographical Sources for the Reign of al-Malik al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qala’un. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1970.

Massoud, Sami. The Chronicles and Annalistic Sources of the Early Mamluk Circassian Period. Leiden: Brill, 2007.

Pfeiffer, Judith, Sholeh Alysia Quinn and Ernest Tucker. History and historiography of post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East: Studies in Honor of John E. Woods. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.

Rashīd al-Dīn Fadl Allāh. Compendium of Chronicles. A History of the Mongols. 3 vols. Trans. Wheeler M. Thackston. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 1999.

Rosenthal, Franz. A history of Muslim Historiography. 2nd rev. ed. Leiden: Brill, 1968.

Robinson, Chase F. Islamic Historiography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Togan, A. Zeki Velidi. “The composition of the history of the Mongols by Rashīd al-Dīn.” CAJ 7 (1962), pp. 60-72.

Set texts:

Set Texts

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Nahda: Arabic Prose and Cultural Activism in the 19th Century

Term in which it is taught and hours of teaching:

Year 4, Michaelmas Term. 8 Seminars and 6 tutorials.  

Teaching staff:

Professor Marilyn Booth

Course description:

This course provides an introduction to the nahda (as Arab intellectuals were calling it before the end of the 19th century)or ‘awakening’ in Arabic letters and cultural activity. Exploring new styles and genres of writing, but equally looking back to the great classical tradition of Arabic literary expression, intellectuals were articulating visions of indigenous modernity as they grappled with how to read the impact of Europe on their societies. As modes of communication changed radically – trains, telegraphs, the press, independent book publishing, regular postal service, electricity, trams, and telephones became features of Arab urban life in the second half of the 19th century – so did ideas about writerly responsibility, audience composition, media of communication, and literary genre. There was now a sense of publics, that writers helped to build and to which they responded. Equally, there were new ideas to convey, about nationalism and imperial power, about national economies and subjects’ rights, about gender and social organization, about who should be educated and how. 


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Important Deadlines

Monday Wk 9 of Trinity  Term

Year 1

Provisional start date of the First Public Examinations.

Monday Week Wk 6 of Hilary Term

Year 3

Deadline for applications for approval  for further subject, special subjects, subsidiary language and dissertation titles. 

Also joint school candidates taking Arabic subjects (where relevant). Forms available here.

 

Friday  Wk 4 of Michaelmas Term

Year 4

Question paper for special subject extended essays available from the Faculty Office. 

 

12 noon, Friday Wk 0 of Hilary Term

Year 4

Deadline for submission of special subject extended essays.

 

 

12 noon, Friday Wk 10 of Hilary Term

Year 4

Deadline for submission of dissertation.

 

Wk 0 of Trinity Term

Year 4

Oral examinations for Arabic language.  Timetables available about 5 weeks before the oral exams.

 

Monday Wk 7 of Trinity  Term

Year 4

Provisional start date of the Final Honour School examinations.