PART ONE: LECTURE
READING: Chapter 3, "Medieval Spain" in Mark Williams
The Islamic conquest of Spain began in 711. It was executed by the Moors from North Africa. Who were the "Moors?" The name derives from the Latin "mauri" to describe the Berber tribes living in the Roman province of Mauretania which was the equivalent of modern Morocco and Algeria. These tribes were the arm of international Islam in North Africa and it was their North African Islamic culture that conquered Spain.
The Chris Lowney book will provide you with a text for this whole quarter.
A Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain,
Oxford University Press (2006),
Islamic Imperialism: A History,
Yale University Press paperback,
"Middle East scholar Karsh surveys for a general audience the region's Islamic political past. Parallel to his narrative, Karsh frequently contrasts the universalistic proclamations of Islam with cycles of imperial consolidation and fragmentation. After recounting the Prophet Muhammad's religio-political establishment of Islam, and the discord about his legacy that continues today, Karsh narrates the battles over Muhammad's caliphate that eventuated in the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires."
"'Anyone interested in the debate about the place of Islam in the modern world should read this book... Karsh offers a new approach. He rejects the condescending approach of the apologists and the hateful passion of the Islamophobes. Instead he presents Islam as a rival for Western civilization in what is, after all, a contest for shaping the future of mankind." Amir Taheri, The Sunday Telegraph
"His narrative helps explain the rage and the sheer hopelessness of so much Muslim engagement with modern politics." Charles Moore, The Telegraph
"Karsh has produced an impeccable history of how the Muslim mainstream has behaved towards its neighbours... I could not recommend this magnificent effort of reportage and analysis more highly. Efraim Karsh, Professor of Mediterranean Studies at King's College London, is well on his way toward claiming the crown of a new generation of scholars of Islam and I wish him luck. We need him." Hazhir Teimourian, Literary Review"