Spring 2019

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


Bronwen S. Gulkis (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142) This course provides an introduction to the collection of artistic and architectural works that have comprised the visual culture of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the 5th century CE, to the contemporary period. In doing so, we will cover landmark monuments such as the Great Mosque of Damascus, the Alhambra palace, or the Taj Mahal, as well as portable objects such as illustrated manuscripts, paintings, and luxury goods. The study of these works will be supported with a variety of primary source texts, including historical art criticism and literary sources. However, this course will also engage with broader questions of what it means for art to be “Islamic” and how these works of art fit within the narrative of global history. How can we understand techniques such as linear perspective, allegory, or photography when practiced in Mughal India, Ottoman Turkey, or Qajar Iran? Can we still characterize a contemporary international artist such as Shahzia Sikander or Shirin Neshat at as creating Islamic art? The course will follow a roughly chronological format, and no previous experience in Islamic studies assumed. All readings will be in English.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Visiting Instructor Gulkis.

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