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HIS 458: Islamic Encounters

Possible Essay Topics

  • Travel & Trade across the Sahara, around the Indian Ocean, across the Mediterranean, and along the Silk Road
  • Intellectual Impact of the Islamic philosophy and science on medieval Europe
  • Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) as a zone of cultural interaction between not only European and Middle Eastern/North Africa cultures, but also between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity
  • The Crusades, with a particular emphasis on their Middle Eastern impact and Muslim perspectives
  • Religious Toleration: The experiences and contributions of Jewish and Christian minorities in the Middle East in various periods, and the question of religious toleration
  • Islam & Hinduism:The long and complicated relationship between Islam and Hinduism in India, during any one of various periods from roughly the ninth century to the twentieth
  • Islam & Byzantine/Medieval Christendom: Islamic perspectives on the Byzantine Empire and medieval Western Christendom
  • Ottoman Empire interactions with Christian parts of Europe—economic, cultural, and military
  • Orientalism & Postcolonialism: Early modern and modern Western notions of “the Orient” and the ensuing interpretive debate about orientalism and postcolonialism
  • European imperialism in the Islamic world and its effects
  • Islam & Western Modernity: Islamic responses to Western modernity, ranging widely from the wholesale imposed adoption model of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his successors in Turkey, to violent rejection by groups like ISIS and Boko Haram.

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