Andalusi Iberias

Syllabus

This class provides an opportunity to examine in more depth some of the medieval and early modern texts included in Hispanic Cultures I, while also studying a variety of other works from the same period. The goal is to examine these materials within a broad framework of texts produced not only in Spanish, but also in the other languages and literary traditions of the Iberian Peninsula. The class uses Spanish language and literature as an entry-point into a comparative and interdisciplinary study of pre-1700 peninsular culture, and in the process it examines the methodologies and limitations of such an endeavor.

The relationship between the Spanish, Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew literatures of the Iberian Peninsula has been hotly contested over the last fifty years. This class is an introduction to these debates about the development of literary genre, the transmission of philosophical knowledge, and the history of religious polemic in medieval and early modern Iberia. We will study not only the conventions that structure the different religious, linguistic, and political communities of the peninsula, but also the multiplicity of Andalusian Iberias produced by the interactions among them.

We will concentrate on the pre-modern period of Muslim presence on the Iberian Peninsula—between the Berber invasions that started in 711 and the expulsion of the Moriscos at the beginning of the seventeenth century—but we will address questions that remain important today: What constitutes conclusive evidence in literary analysis? What is the relationship between literary or cultural forms and imperial power? Compared with various political, economic, and aesthetic categories of investigations, how much analytical importance does religious difference carry?

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