RELN 492 The Muslim Experience in the Medieval World: From the Mongols to the Modernity
Nurten Kilic-Schubel

ASC 311, PBX 5077

Office Hours: Mon 1:00-3:00

And by appointment

Fall 2003

Period B


Course Description and Objectiv

This course covers the history of Islam from the rise of the Mongols in the thirteenth century to the beginning of modern era and the concurrent rise of European dominance. The conquest of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258 is often seen as the beginning of the decline of Islamic civilization. In reality, the period between this event and the rise of European political and economic dominance was one of remarkable cultural fluorescence in the Islamic world. During this period the center of Islamic civilization shifted from the Arab world to Asia, where new empires, such as the Safavids, the Ottomans, the Timurid-Mughals and the Shaybanid Uzbeks, were founded by Turco-Mongol Muslims. It was a period which saw the rise of diverse new political institutions, transformations of religious thought and practice, and the creation of extraordinary literary, artistic and technological achievements. This course will focus on some of the most significant transformations that took place in Muslim Asia in this period, including the conversion of nomadic tribes to Islam, the rise of Sufi orders, and the integration of traditional and Islamic law in medieval political systems

Students should come away from this course with an understanding of the complexity and diversity of Islamic history. The format of the class is a combination of lecture and discussion.

One of the goals for this course is to help you improve your skills in critical thinking, reading and writing. Therefore, feel free to come to see me about course readings and your papers.

Required Readings

Baburnama. Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor. Translated, edited, and annotated

by Wheler M.Thackston. New York:The Modern Library,2002.

Gavin Hambly (ed.), Women in the Medieval Islamic World. New York: St.Martin’s

Press, 1998.

Norman Itkowitz, The Ottoman Empire and the Islamic Tradition

Marshall G.Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, vols.2-3. Chicago and London: The

University of Chicago Press, 1974


Texts on Reserve

The followings texts are on reserve in the library. (Designated with "R" in the Syllabus)

Ata-Malik Juvaini. Gengis Khan. The History of the World-Conqueror. Edited and

translated by J.A.Boyle. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997.

Beatrize F. Manz, "The Legacy of Timur", Asian Art II, 2 (1989), pp.10-29.

Cemal Kafadar, "Self and Others: The Diary of a Dervish in Seventeenth-Century

David Morgan, The Mongols. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986.

Devin DeWeese, "Sacred Places and ‘Public’Narratives: The Shrine of Ahmad Yasavi in

John Robert Barnes, " The Dervish Orders in the Ottoman Empire" in the The Dervish Isenbike Togan, "Differences in Ideology and Practice: The Case of the Black and White

Mountain Factions", Journal of the History of Sufism 3 (2001), 25-38.

Kathryn Babayan, " Sufis, Dervishes and Mullas: The Controversy over Spiritual and

Temporal Dominion in Seventeenth-Century Iran", Pembroke Papers 4 (1996),

Robert D.McChesney, Central Asia.Foundations of Change. Princeton&New Jersey: The

Darwin Press, 1996.

Robert D.McChesney, "Barrier of heterodoxy?" Rethinking the Ties Between Iran and

Central Asia in the 17th Century" in Pembroke Papers 4 (1996), 231-67.

Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India. V.1-2. New Delhi:1986.

I will also provide supplementary readings and handouts throughout semester.


Course Requirements and Grading
Map and identification take-home assignment 10 % Due September 23rd
Two in -class exams 25 % each Due October 7th

November 11th

Term paper

Length: 8-10 pages

25 % Due December 4th
Attendance and Class Participation 15 %  

Assignments should be submitted on time. Late work will result in lowering of one’s grade. Topics of the paper should be chosen in consultation with the instructor.

Attendance is mandatory. Anyone who has more than three unexcused absences will have his or her final grade lowered one letter grade. Excessive absences beyond this will result in dismissal from the classes.

There is no final exam in this class.

	If you have a disability and therefore may have need for some type of accommodation in order to participate fully in this class, please feel free to discuss your concern in private with me and be sure to contact Erin Salva at the Office of the Dean for Academic Advising

The Course Outline
Week One Aug 28 Introduction to Course:

Islam and Islamic Civilization

Week Two Sept 2-4 The Islamic World Before the Mongols: The International Political and Social Order of Islam Hodgson, v.2, pp. 3-151
Week Three Sept 9 Sufism and Sufi Orders in Islam Hodgson, v.2, pp.201-254. Rizvi (R), v.1, pp.18-113
Sept. 11 ‘The Age of the Mongol Prestige’: The Mongols and Their Impact on the Islamic World Morgan, pp.32-83.

Hodgson, v.2, pp.371-436.

Juvaini (R), pp.3-18; 74-138. 

Week Four Sept 16-18 The Turco-Mongol Heritage and Islamic Identity, Islam and Political Legitimacy Togan,

Manz (R) , pp. 10-29.

Hodgson,v.2, pp.501-532 

Week Five Sept 23-25 The Age of Regional Empires: Turco-Mongol Legacy, Islam and Regional Diversity

Saffavids, Sufism and Shiism

Hodgson, v.3, pp.3-58
Week Six Sept 30 Religion and State in the Saffavid Empire Babayan (R), pp.117-38.
Oct. 2 Safavids and Uzbeks: Bariers of Heterodoxy? McChesney (R), pp.231-67.
October 7th In-Class Exam
Week Seven Oct 14-16 Central Asia: The Shibanid Uzbek Khanate, Yasa and Shariat Sufi Orders and Politics; Shrines and Society McChesney (R), pp.119-141:

Togan (R), pp.25-38

DeWeese (R), pp.353-371. 

Week Eight Oct 21 The Timurid-Mughal Empire: The Turco-Mongol Legacy and the Mughal Historiography Baburnama, pp.vii-118; 220-244; 309-401
Oct.23 Religious Universalism and Sufism, Akbar Baburnama-309-401

Hodgson, v.3, pp.59-98; Rizvi (R), v.2, pp.174-193.

Week Nine Oct 28-30 The Ottoman Empire:

State, Society and Religion

Hodgson, v.3, pp.99-133. Itzkowitz, pp.3-61

Film: Suleiman the Magnificient

Nov. 4-6 The Ottomans:

Sufism and Sufi Orders

Kafadar (R), pp.121-156

Barnes (R), pp.33-48

November 11th In-Class Exam
Week Eleven Nov.13 Women and Gender in Medieval Islam: Hambly, pp. 3-27; 199-226; 269-324.
Week Twelve Nov. 18-21 Women and Patronage of Art Hambly, pp.325-381;

407-428; 469-488

Week Thirteen Dec. 2-4

Papers Due

Unity and Diversity: Music, Art and Architecture Across the Borders in the Age of Empires Handout and slide show
Guest Lecturer: Prof. Vernon Schubel
Week Fourteen Dec 9-11 Did the Empires Fail?

‘The Great Western Transmutation’

Hodgson, v.3, pp.134-222