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Module

HIS2012 : Clash of Civilizations? Islam, the Crusades, and the Mongol invasions (c. 750-1300)

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • 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

Aims

In the year 750, the ‘Abb?sid family swept to power in the Islamic world on the back of a wave of social and political unrest. The first half of this module will explore the political and cultural history of the ‘Abb?sid caliphate during the heyday of Baghdad, before turning to look at the waning of the regime’s authority during the ninth and tenth centuries. This decline created space in which a profusion of regional dynasties could flourish, breaking apart what had once been a unified Muslim empire stretching from Spain to India. The de-centring of political power was accompanied – or perhaps hastened – by the devolution of religious authority to a broad class of legal scholars, whose services were in turn courted by the new dynasties. The result was a crystallisation of multiple competing and overlapping Islams, most obviously the Shi’ism of the Fatimid caliphs in Egypt, and the Sunnism of the Seljuk sultans in Iraq and Syria.

Into this divided world came invaders from both east and west. The Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099 and occupied parts of the Near East until 1291; the Mongols spent the second quarter of the thirteenth century devastating Central Asia and bringing an end to the golden age of Baghdad, before settling down to rule large parts of the Islamic world. The second half of this module will examine the political, religious and social impact of these two invasions on the central Islamic lands: what collapsed, what changed, and how Islam coped in the face of significant threats to both its survival and its worldview. Attention will be paid to the re-configuration of networks of intellectual and economic exchange, the experiences of Muslims under non-Muslim rule, how individuals like Salah al-Din could make careers out of the instability, and the institutions, structures and practices that fostered social and cultural continuity amidst sweeping political change. Seminar discussion will be centred on short passages from primary sources in translation – such as the memoirs of Usama ibn Munqidh, and Rashid al-Din’s biography of Ghazan Khan, a Mongol convert to Islam – to give students a chance to hear voices from the period.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will survey the history of Islam in the Near and Middle East between the ‘Abb?sid ‘revolution’ in 750 and the end of the Crusader states, with the fall of Acre in 1291.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials361:0036:00Lecture replacement materials: powerpoint slides and extended notes
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion152:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Online seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities181:0018:00Guided reading activities to support lecture understanding and seminar preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery91:009:00Online Q&A sessions to support lectures, seminars and assessments.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study981:0098:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire; they stimulate the development of note-taking skills, and introduce students to the key arguments with which they are expected to engage through reading, discussion, and assessment.

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 within the framework of understanding offered by the lectures.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M402,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Essay1A602,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

Essays test the ability to analyse a problem in detail, work unaided, construct an argument based on reasoning and evidence, use references accurately, and write clearly and concisely. The ability to compare and contrast related primary and secondary sources on a common subject is key.

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.

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.

Reading Lists

Timetable