Jonathan P Decter
The Jews of the Islamic World This course will explore the history and culture of the Jews living in the Islamic world from the rise of Islam to the modern period. Topics to be covered include the relationship between Judaism and Islam, the legal and actual status of Jews, the organization and structure of the Jewish community and developments in Jewish law, philosophy, religion and literature. Specific attention will be given to the ways in which the Jewish experience was shaped by the surrounding Islamic culture.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Although there are no prerequisites, background in Jewish Studies, Islamic Studies or Middle East History is very useful. While all texts will be read in English translation, students will find knowledge of Hebrew and/or Arabic (as well as European languages) useful for their individual research projects.
Class assignments and grading
Students will be expected to read between 150 and 200 pages per week consisting of primary sources (in translation) and secondary works. Class time will be divided between lectures from the professor, discussions of the reading, and student presentations. Grades will be assigned according to regular class participation (20%), a 20-25 page independent research paper (60%) and an in-class presentation based on that research (20%).