About this Course
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Beginner Level

Approx. 13 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 weeks of study, 4-6 hours a week...

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish

What you will learn

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    In this course you will find out that the Arabic Medieval World was diverse, advanced and connected.

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    In this course you will learn that knowledge travels between cultures and that the Arabic Medieval World influenced the world as we know it today.

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Beginner Level

Approx. 13 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 weeks of study, 4-6 hours a week...

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
1 hour to complete

Welcome to this Course

Great that you are joining us! In this course you will learn about the Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World. Before you start with the course we invite you to first go through this module and introduce yourself in the forum to meet your fellow learners. If you encounter any difficulties while studying, please let us know in the forum. For technical difficulties or questions regarding the course certificate, you can always contact the Coursera Learner Helpdesk. Good luck & we hope you will enjoy this course! ...
1 video (Total 5 min), 6 readings
1 video
6 readings
Meet the instructor & her team5m
Welcome to Leiden University5m
How to subscribe for J-stor5m
Complete our small survey5m
Community Guidelines & Academic Toolkit10m
Study tips for online learning5m
4 hours to complete

The Medieval Islamic City

In this Module we will examine the Islamic City. We will discuss if such a thing as "the Islamic city" exists. If so, what are the features that we are looking for ? We will also focus on specific examples of cities in the Medieval Middle East, most notably Baghdad. How was it possible that Baghdad grew to the size that it did? And what role did hygiene and medical care for instance play in that growth?...
2 videos (Total 15 min), 6 readings, 3 quizzes
2 videos
The Hammam7m
6 readings
Podcast explained2m
Introduction to the Islamic City30m
Islamic City - Historic Myth, Islamic Essence and Contemporary Relevance45m
Hospitals30m
Further Reading
Source Material: Medical commentary10m
3 practice exercises
Islamic - Historic Myth, Contemporary Relevance5m
The Medieval Islamic City15m
Arabic versus Greek10m
Week
2
5 hours to complete

Travel & Religion

In this Module we will focus on diversity and connection by looking at religion. We will explore Medieval society and zoom in on the fact that many different religions and religious views coexisted. We will see that different religions shared practices. Sometimes they would even worship in the same place. But we will also show examples of tension and the interaction between politics and religion. Furthermore we will try to find out how religious travelling shaped society. ...
4 videos (Total 30 min), 8 readings, 3 quizzes
4 videos
Minorities and different Islams8m
Shrines7m
Amulets (on location Volkenkunde Museum)6m
8 readings
Podcast Explained2m
Source Material: Photos of Snouck15m
Jews in the Middle East and Europes
Origins of the Schism25m
Optional reading: Western Arabia in the Leiden Collections10m
Further Reading
Travelling to Jerusalem20m
Visiting Al-Haram al-Sharif10m
3 practice exercises
Muslim - Jewish relations15m
Religion15m
The Ascent to Heaven5m
Week
3
5 hours to complete

Trade

In this module we will take a look at trade. For the Medieval Middle East, trade was immensely important and it owed much of its wealth and prosperity to trade. There are the romantic images of caravans carrying lush fabrics, porcelain and gold along the desert roads of the silk route. And there is the dark side of a flourishing slave trade. But how correct are our images of what the Islamic or Arab world was and is like? Why is it that many people know about harems and very few people know about the legal innovations that enabled trade that we will also discuss in this module? To explore that question further we will introduce you to the concept of Orientalism....
5 videos (Total 33 min), 7 readings, 5 quizzes
5 videos
Porcelain3m
Legal Inventions7m
The Slave Trade8m
Orientalism7m
7 readings
Podcast explained2m
The travelling of Goods and Ideas: Vikings & Dirhams15m
Udovitch - Legal Innovations45m
Muslim Slaves in Early Modern Europe: A Forgotten History of Slavery10m
Optional reading: Slave Traders and Karimi Merchants during the Mamluk Period: A Comparative Study .s
Further Reading
Focusing on 19th Century Orientalist Views10m
4 practice exercises
Legal Innovations5m
Trade & Orientalism15m
Naked versus Veiled5m
Orientalist or not?
Week
4
6 hours to complete

Power Play

In the last Module we introduced the slave trade in the Medieval Middle East. In this module we will further explore slavery. How was it possible that some of the most powerful people in society, both men and women, were or had been slaves? We will discuss the outrage that followed professor Jonathan Brown's views on slavery and Islam. And with the concept of Orientalism in mind, we will try to sketch a more realistic picture of Harems. ...
3 videos (Total 24 min), 7 readings, 3 quizzes
3 videos
The Pen and the Sword8m
What made the Mamluk army possible and when did it change?8m
7 readings
Podcast explained2m
Optional: Shajarat al-Durr20m
Political Intercession at Court45m
The Pen and the Sword45m
Optional: Mamluks through European Eyes40m
Further Reading10m
Jonathan Brown's view on Slavery30m
2 practice exercises
Political Intercession at Court5m
Power Play15m
Week
5
5 hours to complete

Science

In this module we will focus on science in the Medieval Muslim world. How did scientific inventions of the Medieval Arabic world make their way to Europe and how did they eventually contribute to shaping today's world? How was knowledge preserved and how did books travel through the ages? We will research if survival of ideas and sources was a matter of sheer luck, or if we can recognize some patterns. ...
4 videos (Total 30 min), 7 readings, 2 quizzes
4 videos
1001 inventions part 25m
The Travel of a Book (translation movement)9m
The travelling of knowledge (University Library Leiden)9m
7 readings
Podcast explained2m
Arabic Science30m
The travelling of Medical knowledge20m
Transcultural experiencess
Optional: Philosophy in the Islamic World: A Very Short Introduction15m
Further Reading10m
Creating Arabic collections in Europes
2 practice exercises
Science15m
Creating a collection10m
Week
6
1 hour to complete

In conclusion: the Cosmopolitain Medieval Arabic World

In this Course we tried to show you that the Medieval Islamic world was diverse advanced and connected. We have also focused on the danger of over- or under-representation of historical facts. Lastly we have tried to connect the past to the present by explaining and showing how events that took place a long time ago still affect today's world. ...
1 video (Total 6 min), 1 reading
1 reading
Post - course survey10m
4.6
15 ReviewsChevron Right

Top Reviews

By MIJan 31st 2019

Great course with a wide array of materials that allowed me to understand better the important of Arab influence in Europe and worldwide.

By SMJan 30th 2019

I love this class! It gives me easy access to a wealth of information I wasn't taught in school, and it's the perfect pacing for me.

Instructor

Avatar

Prof. dr. Petra Sijpesteijn

Professor of Arabic
LUCIS

About Universiteit Leiden

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia. Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands. It was founded in February 1575, as a gift from William of Orange to the citizens of Leiden after they had withstood a long siege by the Spanish. Our motto is: Praesidium Libertatis — Bastion of Liberty....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

  • No. The entire course is in English and there is no requirement to know any Arabic.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.