Regions and Empires in Islamic Archaeology

Module titleRegions and Empires in Islamic Archaeology
Module codeARA2014
Academic year2020/1
Credits15
Module staff

Professor Timothy Insoll (Convenor)

Dr John Cooper (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

11

Number students taking module (anticipated)

20

Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Complimenting thematic material presented in module ARA1030, this module approaches Islamic archaeology from both a chronological and regional perspective, and in a global context. It reviews the archaeology of the Islamic world across time and space so as to assess the state of archaeological knowledge of the period from the time of the Prophet Muhammad through to the Ottoman Empire. Each week a specific geographical region or time period will be examined, focusing upon key sites, to reconstruct what is known about that region or time period and to evaluate key future research directions. It is not necessary to have completed ARA1030 to join this module, but an interest in Islamic archaeology and history is essential. The course involves practical engagement with Islamic archaeological material in a museum context and in the course seminars. The module will be based on lectures (9 x 2 hours), a full day Museum visit and gallery analysis in the Victoria and Albert and British Museums in London, and seminars centred on individual student presentations on agreed topics  (1 x 2 hours). Lectures will be occasionally followed by students’ individual discussions of reading assignments. Where relevant, Islamic archaeological handling artifacts and material culture will be used in lectures and seminars, and short films on Islamic material culture and heritage shown and discussed. The following themes may be covered.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Students will develop critical skills in understanding Islamic archaeology as it contributes to reconstructing the history of large parts of the globe. They will gain an appreciation of regional differences and similarities in Islamic archaeology and an enriched understanding of Islamic heritage and monuments.

Through analysis completed in the Islamic galleries of major UK museums (e.g. the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum) students will be introduced to critical appreciation of public heritage narratives and displays, and pertinent debates in museology associated with representing Islam.

Individual short presentations on agreed Islamic archaeological topics will permit students to engage in-depth in researching a specific site or body of material. This can help in developing other dissertations, and projects, and enhances research skills transferable across course units in power point presentation, library and web based research, and group based discussion.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Understand the key different empires and regions that have been significant in Islamic history from an archaeological perspective
  • 2. Analyse Islamic archaeology and material culture museum displays from a critical perspective

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Evaluate the value of different categories of archaeological evidence in reconstructing past societies
  • 4. Demonstrate understanding of regional differences in approaches within archaeology

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Develop enhanced confidence in completing independent research
  • 6. Prepare and present a succinct power point presentation
  • 7. Critically evaluate different categories of textual, visual, and material culture evidence

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will be based on lectures (9 x 2 hours), a full day Museum visit and gallery analysis in the Victoria and Albert and British Museums in London, and seminars centred on individual student presentations on agreed topics  (1 x 2 hours). Lectures will be occasionally followed by students’ individual discussions of reading assignments. Where relevant, Islamic archaeological handling artifacts and material culture will be used in lectures and seminars, and short films on Islamic material culture and heritage shown and discussed. The following themes may be covered.

  1. The time of the Prophet Muhammad and the Umayyads
  2. The Abbasids
  3. The Fatimids and Mamluks
  4. Ottomans
  5. Merchants and sailors of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean
  6. Sub-Saharan Africa
  7. North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula
  8. South, Central, and Southeast Asia
  9. Museum fieldtrip and Gallery analysis (British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museums)

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
281220

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity189x2 hour classes You will need to complete all readings prior to class and be ready to participate. On some occasions you will be asked to present material you have prepared yourself.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity42x2 hour seminars. You will need to complete all readings prior to class and be ready to participate. On some occasions you will be asked to present material you have prepared yourself.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity6Islamic museum visit This study event will be held in the Islamic gallery of a major UK museum (e.g. British Museum, V&A).
Guided Independent Study62Reading and research.
Guided Independent Study30Completing assignments.
Guided Independent Study30Preparing for assessments.

Assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussions in lecture and seminarsDuring scheduled hours1-5, 7Oral, in class feedback
Optional submission of essay plans400 words1-5, 7Oral, in office hours

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
80020

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment (essay)402,000 words1-5, 7Mark and written comments; oral feedback on request
Written assignment (essay)402,000 words1-5, 7Mark and written comments; oral feedback on request
Individual presentation with slides and handouts (recorded)2010 Minutes (1,000 words)1-7Mark, oral and written comments

Re-assessment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written assignment2,000-word written assignment1-5, 7August/September re-assessment period
Written assignment2,000-word written assignment1-5, 7August/September re-assessment period
Individual written presentation with slides and handouts1,000-word written presentation to accompany, with copies of slides and handouts1-7August/September re-assessment period

Resources

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Agius, D.A.. 2008. Classic ships of Islam: from Mesopotamia to the Indian Ocean. Leiden: Brill.

Bennison,  A.K. 2009. The Great Caliphs: The Golden Age of the 'Abbasid Empire. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Brett, M, 2017. The Fatimid Empire. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Donner, F. M. 2010. Muhammad and the Believers. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Cooper, J.P. 2014. The Medieval Nile: Route, Landscape and Navigation in Islamic Egypt. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.

Crone, P. 1987. Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Glassé, C. 2001. The Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam. London: Stacey International.

Hourani, A. H. 1991. A history of the Arab peoples. Imprint London : Faber.

Insoll, T. 1999. The Archaeology of Islam. Oxford: Blackwell.

Insoll, T. 2003. The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kennedy, H. 2007. The great Arab conquests: how the spread of Islam changed the world we live in. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Lev, Y. 1991. State and Society in Fatimid Egypt. Leiden: Brill.

Milwright, M. 2010. An Introduction to Islamic Archaeology. New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys.

Power, T, 2012. The Red Sea from Byzantium to the Caliphate. Cairo: American University of Cairo Press.

Ruthven, M. with Nanji, A. 2004. Historical Atlas of the Islamic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Woodhead, C. 2013. The Ottoman World: London: Routledge.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Archaeology, Islam, Middle East, Religion, History, Arabia, North Africa

Credit value15
Module ECTS

7.5

Module pre-requisites

None

Module co-requisites

None

NQF level (module)

5

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

01/03/2017

Last revision date

05/03/2020