HIST 2805 -- History of Islamic Civilization

Index to Lecture Notes

These notes have been placed here for the convenience of my students. They aren't meant as a substitute for attending lectures, and I have not included everything I'll say in class.

I hope that posting these will allow students to worry less about note-taking, and to relax, listen, and ask questions. Most of the names and dates are here; so are some of the most important interpretations and explanations I'll be putting forward. For the whole story, though, you'll still have to show up for lectures.


Introductory Lectures.   For the first six lectures (Sept. 8-24)  I  refer you to the links I've put on the course home page, or to material I've posted elsewhere that discusses the historical background to Islam    

Here are links to relevant on-line material:

Sept. 8       What do you know about Islam and Muslims?

 I recommend going to the course home page and either following some links, or looking at the introductory books listed there.
Sept. 10     The Middle Eastern Background
 For deep background, you may wish to look at General Characteristics of Mesopotamian Civilization
Sept. 15      Nomads and Citizens
For discussion of empires and the relations between urbanites and nomadic or tribal peoples see Nomads and Citizens in the Second Millenium B.C.
Sept. 17     Women and Men
See Women and Men in the Second Millenium B.C.   See Gerda Lerner's book  Origins of Patriarchy, or look for reviews on the Web.
Sept. 22     Judaism and the Covenant
Ancient Israel summarizes the early religious history of the people of Israel.    See also Religion and the Roman Empire -- Judaism.
Sept. 24     Christianity and the New Covenant
Jews and Christians in the First Century A.D. discusses the early relations between the two traditions.   For more see Religion and the Roman Empire -- Christianity and The Foundation of an Imperial Church.
Sept. 29    Pre-Islamic Arabs

The Prophet and His Career

I feel that posting very short summaries of the next three lectures listed below would not be very useful.   Rather, I refer you to our textbook and to the library.

Oct.  1     Preaching of Muhammed
Oct.  6     Muhammed in Medina
Oct.  8     The Religion of Muhammed

Oct.  15     The Arab Conquests
Oct.  20     The Arabs as Conquerors
Oct.  22    The Early Caliphate

Oct.  27    Discussion of assignments

Oct.  29     Rise of the Abbasids
Nov.   3     The Failures of the Abbasids
Nov.   5      Post-Abbasid Politics
Nov. 10    Scholars and Sufis

The material for this lecture is complex, so I refer you to Rippin, Lapidus, pp. 99-105, 109-115, or to the appropriate sections of Annemarie Schimmel, Islam:  an Introduction, in the NU library.
Nov. 12     Christians and Muslims in the Middle Ages
Nov. 17     Nomad Empires in the Middle East
Nov. 19     Spread of Islam
Nov. 24     The Gunpowder Empires
Nov. 26     The Men Who Would Be King


Jan.   5     Europe’s Advantage
 Rather than post notes for this lecture in advance, I'd like you to think about this question:   What is the key advantage that allowed Europe, after 1800, to lord it over what had once been a more advanced civilization, by almost any tangible measure?
Jan.   7     Two Conquests:  Bengal and Egypt before 1800
Jan. 12     The French Conquest and Colonization of Algeria
Jan. 14     Dutch Colonization and Islam in Indonesia
Jan. 19     A Modernizing Regime:  Egypt
Jan. 21     A Modernizing Regime:  The Ottoman Empire
Jan. 26     Iran:  Lead up to a Revolution
Jan. 28     The Young Turks
Feb.   2     Africa:  Muslims and Europeans in Nigeria
Feb.       The First World War
Feb.   9     The Turkish Secular Republic
Feb. 11
    Islam and Indian Nationalism 

Feb. 16, 18  STUDY WEEK

Feb.  23     Europe and the Arab Countries between the Wars
Feb.  25     Palestine and Zionism between the Wars
Mar.  1     The Creation of Israel
Mar.  3     Anti-Colonialism and Nationalism, 1945-1962
Mar.  8     Muslim Women in the mid-20th century
Mar. 10    Arab Nationalism 1956-67
Mar. 15    From the Six-Day War to the Egyptian-Israeli Peace
Mar. 17    The Iranian Revolution
Mar. 22    Immediate Consequences of the Iranian Revolution
Mar. 24    The Gulf War and After
Mar. 29    Israel, Palestine, and Iraq in the 1990s (tentaive title)
Mar. 31    Recent Trends (no notes -- who knows what may happen by the end of March?)