Fall 2016

Visual Culture of the Islamic World

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-152  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-152  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-142


Yael R. Rice (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 152 and ASLC 142.)  This introductory course explores the architecture, manuscripts, painting, textiles, decorative arts, material culture, and popular art of the Islamic world, from the late seventh century C.E., touching on the present. It follows a basic chronology, but is structured primarily through thematic issues central to the study of Islamic visual culture, including, but not limited to: orality and textuality, geometry and ornament, optics and perception, sacred and royal space, the image and aniconism, modernity and tradition, and artistic exchange with Europe, China, and beyond. The class will focus on the relationships between visual culture, history, and literature, analyzing specific sites or objects, for example the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, carved ivory boxes from Spain, luxury manuscripts from Cairo, gardens of Iran, and contemporary art from Pakistan, alongside primary and secondary texts. Films, audio recordings, and field-trips to local museum collections will supplement assigned readings and lectures. Participation in class discussion, a significant component of the course, is expected. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Rice.

If Overenrolled: Priority to ARHA and ASLC majors, then selected from class level in order to achieve a range of students across the disciplines.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021