This fall, Professor Jennifer Pruitt will be teaching AH 440: Art & Power in the Arab World, TR 9:30–10:45am. This course requires sophomore standing and satisfies humanities breadth and L&S credit. Enroll here.
Description: This course considers the use of art and architecture as an expression of power in the Arab world, from the seventh century to the present. Beginning with the establishment of the caliphate and ending with the arts of revolution following the Arab Spring, we will investigate the shifting role of art and architecture in the quest for political dominance. With a particular focus on the arts of Cairo, Baghdad, Cordoba, Mecca, Jerusalem, Damascus, and the modern Arabian Gulf, we will explore competing visions of power and sources of legitimacy, through the lens of artistic production. Themes include the role of cultural heritage in political disputes; visual rhetoric of the caliphate; contemporary debates over the nature of medieval Islamic art and culture; conflict over holy spaces; artistic exchange between Europe and the Middle East. Incorporation of relevant current events in the Middle East will be a regular feature of class discussion.