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Study information

Art in Syria and the Holy Land at the Time of the Crusades

Module titleArt in Syria and the Holy Land at the Time of the Crusades
Module codeTHE2025
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Emma Loosley Leeming (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module you will examine the art historical and architectural impact of the Crusades on Syria and the Holy Land (modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan). We will concentrate primarily on the earlier Crusades and explore the beliefs and material culture brought from the west by the Crusaders, as well as study the native art and culture of the region. The course will explore to what extent these traditions remained separate from each other and whether the two sides left a lasting impact on each other. It also seeks to contextualise the history of Christian-Muslim conflict within an historical framework.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  •  Introduce you to the art and architecture of the Levant at the time that western Europeans refer to as “the Crusades”
  • Explore the impact that this meeting of cultures had on the art, architecture and religious beliefs of the Levant
  • Place this period firmly in its socio-religious context and learn how to relate the events of the past to the current conflicts in the region
  • Give you an understanding of Medieval Levantine History and familiarise them with non-eurocentric theories of history

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate critical awareness and knowledge of the historical milieu in which these works were produced
  • 2. Relate the visual art works considered to the wider social, political and religious contexts of the era

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Explore critically a particular object, building or theme for their essay and seminar paper
  • 4. Engage with a non-European culture and demonstrate critical awareness of a Eurocentric view of art

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. An understanding of the origins of Christian-Muslim conflict in the Middle East and how this issue affects world politics today
  • 6. An ability to sustain a coherent argument over the course of an extended piece of written work

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • The clash of civilisations: the crusades and 21st century rhetoric
  • The crusades in popular imagination: Kingdom of Heaven – film and discussion
  • Defensive architecture
  • Case study of a city I: Aleppo and Damascus
  • Case study of a city II: Jerusalem
  • Manuscript illumination
  • Decorative arts: metalwork, ceramics, glass and textiles
  • Religious architecture I: the mosque
  • Religious architecture II: the church
  • The artistic and cultural heritage of the crusades

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 x 1 hour seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching1Half hour feedback on presentation and half hour feedback on essay plan
Guided independent study266Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Submission of essay plan2 x A4 pages3, 6Tutorial

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation1015 minutes1, 3, 6Written feedback and oral feedback in tutorial
Essay/Portfolio906000 words1-3, 6Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Presentation [Written text of a presentation in lieu of live presentation]101, 3, 6Referral/Deferral period
Essay/Portfolio 6000 words901-3, 6Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

You must read:

  • Carole Hillenbrand, The Crusades. Islamic Perspectives (Edinburgh University Press, 1999)

If you are considering buying any books this is the one you should purchase (in the past students have been able to source secondhand copies through Amazon Marketplace if a new one seems too expensive) as the material in the volume is relevant to each seminar.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date