Examines the impact of European Christians on the Middle East, from the establishment of the County of Edessa (1097) to the fall of Accon (1291). Explores how Muslims understood, reacted, and adapted to the crusades and how the close encounter with the "Franks" transformed medieval Middle Eastern societies.
The story of the "Crusades" is a story of 200 years of conflict, coexistence, commerce and cultural exchange between European Christians and the predominantly Muslim (but also Christian and Jewish) population of the Middle East. Usually told from a European perspective, the "Crusades" serve for many today as a simple code for an alleged "clash of civilizations". In this lecture course we will attempt to explore this period from a Middle Eastern perspective in order to gain a more differentiated understanding of medieval European-Middle Eastern relations. How did Muslims understand the Crusades? How did the presence of European Christians change the Middle East and its relations with Europe? What were the long-term consequences of the Crusades for the Middle East? Lectures and discussions will be based on readings of translations of medieval Arabic source texts and interpretations of material culture.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lectures, classroom discussion, TA sections
No prerequisites. However, it will certainly help if you read the popular book by Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, which will also be on the list of recommended (not mandatory) readings for the course.
Class assignments and grading