Academic Catalog 2022–2023

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Courses

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Islamic Art and Architecture Courses

IAA375 Introduction to Islamic Art (650-1650)

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course is an introduction to the arts of the Muslim world from the rise of Islam until the advent of the early modern period. This course comprises a selective survey of artifacts drawn from a variety of media that represent the pinnacles of artistic accomplishment across the vast expanse of the Islamic world. Paintings, textiles, coins, ceramics, metal work, jewelry, and woodcarving will be investigated in the context of cultural history and examined in terms of their evolving forms, multiple meanings, and the development of a distinctively Islamic aesthetic. Particular emphasis will be placed on the spiritual content of Islamic art, the role of the artist in Islamic society, and the effect of religious pronouncements on the production of art.

IAA375H Introduction to Islamic Art (650-1650)

[3–0, 3 cr.]

Introductory course to the arts of the Muslim world from the rise of Islam until the advent of the early modern period. This course will comprise a selective survey of artifacts drawn from a variety of media which represent the pinnacles of artistic accomplishment across the vast expanse of the Islamic world. Paintings, textiles, coins, ceramics, metal work, jewelry, and woodcarving will be investigated in the context of cultural history and examined in terms of their evolving forms, multiple meanings, and the development of a distinctively Islamic aesthetic. Particular emphasis will be placed on the spiritual content of Islamic art, the role of the artist in Islamic society, and the effect of religious pronouncements on the production of art.

IAA376 Introduction to Islamic Architecture (650-1650)

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course is a survey of the architectural heritage of the Islamic world from the early caliphate to the era of the Muslim superpowers of the pre-modern times. It traces the most significant and influential edifices of the Muslim world from Spain in the west to India in the east. Monuments are studied and analyzed in their political, religious, socio- economic, cultural, and aesthetic contexts. The course also examines the evolution of such varied building types as mosques, madrasas, mausoleums, caravanserays, and palaces. Selected structures is studied through a range of methodologies and the development of Islamic architecture is analyzed from the standpoint of the manipulation of space, materials, and building technology.

IAA481 Contemporary Art in the Islamic World

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course will explore contemporary artistic developments in the Islamic world, with a focus on recent artistic works in the Middle East. It will also focus on the critical reception of such artworks in their original settings, as well as internationally.

IAA491 Topics in Islamic Art and Architecture

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course will focus on a specific area or period within the history of Islamic art and architecture. The course will cover issues related to the historical and cultural context of a specific theme in Islamic art and/or architecture, and would address related aspects such as ornament, craftsmanship, stylistic patterns and cross-cultural influences.  The course is based on a series of lectures that cover the major landmarks, artifacts, and artistic production of the period in question, while exposing the students to the essential scholarship in the field.

Note: This course has not been taught since Fall 2020 and will not be taught in the academic year 2022-2023.

IAA595 International Studio

[1–4, 3 cr.]

This studio offers an opportunity for the students to gain a first-hand experience of the wealth and breadth of the material heritage of the Arab and Islamic worlds. The knowledge gained through the design history and theory courses will be complemented by field trips and site visits that offer direct exposure to and engagement with the architectural heritage of a particular region in the Islamic world, or an area with substantial Islamic heritage outside of the Islamic world. Students will be required to analyze and document specific works and study their relationship with the urban history and culture of the area. This will then be documented and presented in a portfolio.

Prerequisite: IAA375 Introduction to Islamic Art, and IAA376 Introduction to Islamic Architecture

Note: This course has not been taught since Fall 2020 and will not be taught in the academic year 2022-2023.

IAA711 Graduate Survey of Islamic Architecture

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This reading intensive lecture course surveys the development of Islamic architecture from the middle of the 7th century to the 18th century. Emphasis will be on contextualizing the architectural development within the development of various politics and cultures in Islamic societies.

IAA712 Graduate Survey of the Islamic Arts

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This lecture reading intensive course explores the arts in Islamic history including all media. It strives at providing various methods of studying the art object, as well as relating the visual analysis to various contexts including textual, social, scientific, and technological parameters. It offers selected in depth reading into the formation of visual culture in Islamic societies.

IAA721 Field Research & Studies

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course will consist of independent study and on-site research in a historical site of relevance to Islamic Art & Architecture. The field study is concluded by writing a paper that would effectively serve as a thesis proposal.

IAA722 Special Topics

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course will be given on a topic of contemporary relevance, that would explore new areas of research, accommodate students’ areas of focus, location of the research, or pertinent to the expertise of a visiting professor. The selected topic would focus on specific themes, periods, or a particular medium.

Note: This course has not been taught since Fall 2020 and will not be taught in the academic year 2022-2023.

IAA731 Graduate Seminar

[3–0, 3 cr.]

The graduate seminar will serve as a forum for initiating students to the process of research on and critical analysis on a specific topic, and develop their independent formulation of a valid academic work.

IAA741 Byzantine and Early Islamic Art and Architecture

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course studies the formation and developments of several periods in Western Asia since the founding of Constantinople in the middle of the 4th century to the middle of the 9th century. It explores the influences of Hellenistic culture in the development of the Late Antique, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. Emphasis will be on culture interruption, continuity, appropriation, and influences.

IAA742 The Art and Architecture of the Ayyubids and the Mamluks

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course explores the formation of Ayyubid and Mamluk art and architecture in light of the continuing development of new scholarship in the field. It surveys the development of art and architecture between 1171 and 1516, with a special emphasis on field studies in Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. The lectures would also address the various methods to approach the arts and architecture of this period. Essential to the course is reading primary sources; historical texts and documents, and exploring the complexity of relationships between the various social aspects and art and architecture of the period.

IAA743 Identity and Modernity in the Middle East

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course will trace architectural developments in the Middle East from the end of the Nineteenth century to the present. It addresses issues of architectural design in the twentieth century in the Middle East. Emphasis will be on the flux between modernist architecture and regional identity, with special consideration of the revival of Islamic architecture in 20th century. The impact of Modernism on urban development and the expansion of major cities such as Beirut, Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad, Tehran, and Istanbul will also be discussed.

IAA744 Ornament in Islamic Art and Architecture

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course addresses the important role of the ornament in Islamic art and architecture. It explores the various theories of ornament from the Nineteenth century to the present, and studies its applications in Islamic art and architecture. The course would require from students personal research, detailed archival and fieldwork to study various types of ornament.

IAA745 Calligraphy in Islamic Art and Architecture

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This is an intensive survey of the development of the Arabic script and its application on various media. Special emphasis will be on the role of calligraphy in Islamic cultures. The course will address the function and meaning of the use of calligraphy, its communicative, decorative, and symbolic functions, covering its use in religious and secular contexts, and in various media.

IAA746 Geometry in Islamic Art and Architecture

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course addresses an iconic aspect of Islamic art in the context of the general development of sciences in the Islamic world. It explores the extensive literature about the use of geometry in Islamic art and architecture, and the various theories related to its interpretation. The course will also present a series of case studies of patterns, investigating their function in the visual arts and architecture.

Note: This course has not been taught since Fall 2020 and will not be taught in the academic year 2022-2023.

IAA747 Figural representation in Islamic Art

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course surveys the development of figural representation in various media in Islamic art. It explores the use of images in manuscripts and on art objects, in addition to the textual context in manuscripts, and the functional aspects of artworks. Emphasis will be on cases studies of different modes of representation and narratives.

IAA799 Master’s Thesis

[6 cr.]

the Master’s Thesis is the final requirement for graduation, and consists of independent research under the guidance of an advisor. The course will be completed with the submission  of a thesis document, according to specific guidelines.