Spring 2009

Middle Eastern Court Culture

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-65  |  History, as HIST-94


Monica M. Ringer (Section 01)


(ME) (Also Asian 65.) Middle Eastern court culture - the culture of the royal courts of both Pre-Islamic and Islamic kings and royalty - has long been esteemed as an inspiration of visual arts, heroic epics, and poetry. Court culture is also widespread, forming an important shared element in Persian, Arab and Turkish dynasties throughout the centuries. What has been insufficiently appreciated, however, is court culture’s rich contribution to political theory, ethics and the role of women in society. This seminar will illuminate these contributions from the pre-Islamic, classical and early modern Middle Eastern court cultures, using both visual arts and texts. The emphasis will be on exploring both their complementarities and tensions with “Islamic” culture as together they form the principle pillars of arts, ethics and political theory in the Middle East. One class meeting per week. Instructor consent required. Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professor Ringer.