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Module

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

  • 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

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

Themes covered may include the following: conceptualisation and legitimisation of authority; communal and individual identities; multiculturalism; gender; law in theory and practice.

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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Additional time for work on summative assessments
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading181:0018:00Essential background reading in secondary literature, approx 2 hrs per week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Online seminars: primary sources
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities271:0027:00Structured reading to prepare for primary source seminars, approx. 3 hrs per week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Online seminars: historical background and secondary scholarship
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion91:009:00Student-led primary source presentations
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study981:0098:00Wider reading
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; they encourage students to discuss with each other, not just with the tutor. They are central to the special subject as an extended group project, in which staff and students discover and analyse primary sources collectively.

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
Essay1M40Essay of 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Essay1A60Documentary commentaries totalling 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MPractice documentary commentaries
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

Essays test students’ ability to conduct independent research, relate primary source documents to broader problems, formulate an interpretation of evidence in response to a question, and write in clear academic language. Documentary commentaries test students' ability to engage closely with primary sources, assessing issues such as authorship, genre, context, style, and usefulness to the historian.

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.

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.

Reading Lists

Timetable