Winter 2012 MAP-UA.0527 Cultures & Contexts: Muslim Spain
Winter Session I: January 3 - January 21
Prof. Lezra (Spanish & Portuguese)
Sefarad. Al-Andalus. España. From the mid 8th century until 1492 the three great Abrahamic religions--Judaism, Islam, Christianity--uneasily shared towns and ports, market-places and public spaces, throughout the Iberian peninsula. It was without question one of the most dazzling periods we know--in its architecture, its philosophy, its poetry, and in its urbanism. But was it also, as Maria Rosa Menocal has called it, "a culture of tolerance in Medieval Spain"? What did "tolerance" mean, in the worlds of Averroes, of Maimonides, of Alfonso the Wise? Under the so-called "fundamentalist" dynasties of the Almoravids and Almohads? To examine the world of the so-called Three Cultures, we approach this strange, familiar encounter by looking at works of historiography, poetry, philosophy, mysticism and architecture, drawn primarily from the time of Muslim Spain. Selections from Menocal's The Ornament of the World, Averroes's Incoherence of the Incoherence, Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed, muwashshah verses, the Maqama of Yehuda Alharizi, the Castilian romance and epic traditions (including selections from the Cantar de Mio Cid), as well as a close study of the Alhambra and its gardens, the great Mosque of Cordoba, Mozarabic structures, and Christian illuminations from the Apocalypse of the Beato de Liebana and other manuscripts.