Module Catalogue 2019/20

HIS3219 : Living Together: Christians, Muslims and Jews in Medieval Iberia

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nicola Clarke
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

N/A

Aims

Medieval Iberia, meeting place of monotheisms, has attracted more than its fair share of extravagant claims over the years. At their most intemperate, assessments of Iberia have lauded it as a wonderland of inter-religious tolerance – sometimes expressed by the concept of convivencia, or ‘living together’ – or else lamented it as a war-torn warning that multiculturalism is always doomed to fail. Hyperbole aside, Iberia offers us the chance to see how medieval societies coped with religious and cultural difference in both war and peace. Social norms, legal frameworks, architectural styles and the rhetorics of political legitimacy are all testament to the patchwork of accommodation, repression and anxiety that was life in medieval Iberia, on both the Muslim and the Christian sides of the territorial divide.

This module will explore the experiences of Muslims, Christians and Jews in the peninsula as political, cultural and religious actors. The primary focus will be on moments of contact between these cultures, between 711 (the Muslim conquest of Iberia) and 1284 (the end of the reign of Alfonso X of Leon-Castile). We shall approach the period primarily through case studies of particular times, places and texts. One such case study is that of the so-called ‘spontaneous martyrs’ of Cordoba, a small group of ninth-century Christians who deliberately sought death at the hands of the Muslim authorities in al-Andalus; we shall use the martyrs to consider how processes of acculturation and assimilation affect social institutions, cultural belonging, and family life. The picture of monolithic clashing civilisations will be challenged and complicated throughout by attention to diversity and fluidity on both sides: ethnic and sectarian divisions among Muslims; the experiences of converts and the children of religiously-mixed marriages; and the mismatch between external and internal approaches to the conflict, in the shape of Frankish and North African incomers to Iberia.

Particular attention will be paid to lawcodes, chronicles, and poetry for evidence of the theory and practice of relations between dominant and subordinate religious groups, in both al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) and the Christian kingdoms of the northern peninsula.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics may include the following:

1.Introduction
2.Heroes, traitors, and deadly statues: the Muslim conquest of Iberia
3.Accommodating religious difference in medieval societies: sources and principles
4.The ‘spontaneous martyrs’ of Cordoba, 850-59
5.Arabs, Berbers and muwalladun: ethnicity and society
6.Opportunism: el Cid, Ibn Mardanīsh, and the Party-kings
7.Outside influences: the Crusades and North African revivalism
8.Iberia and Mediterranean exchange networks
9.A “society organized for war”: civic militias and civic law-making
10.Toledo, Tudela, and the translation movement
11.Gender and religious boundaries: Alfonso X and the Cantigas de Santa Maria
12.Conclusion: convivencia?

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should know the key themes and events of the history of medieval Iberia, and be able to explain key concepts within medieval Muslim and Christian Iberian culture, including dhimma, Mozarab, and fuero. They will have detailed knowledge of a range of primary sources, and be able to go beyond simple judgements of bias to explain how and why these sources present the world in the ways they do. They should also be familiar with theoretical approaches to multicultural societies, difference, and the Other.

Intended Skill Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should:

•have honed their skills of analysis, argument and independent study through both oral presentations and written work;
•have learned how to listen to each other’s arguments and ask informed questions in response;
•be able to engage with modern historiography on the period;
•understand how religious and cultural identities evolved during the period, and how they shaped the lives of individuals and communities.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching113:0033:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery13:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability; they allow students to develop and test their own ideas, based on reading undertaken independently, within the framework of understanding offered by the lectures; they encourage students to discuss with each other, not just with the tutor.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M40Essay of 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M3 x practice documentary commentaries
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essays test students’ ability to conduct independent research, relate primary source documents to broader problem, ability to formulate an interpretation of evidence in response to a question, and academic writing skills.

Exams test students’ general knowledge, as well as their ability to quickly analyse a problem and formulate a clearly written answer, drawing broadly on the material covered by the course.

The form of the resit is no different from the above, i.e. no marks are carried over from the sit to the resit. Students are not allowed to submit for the resit any work that they have previously submitted.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.
All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.