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Spring 2021 Middle East UN3047 section 001
Court Cultures 350-1750

Call Number 10771
Day & Time
T 12:10pm-2:00pm
Points 3
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Samyak Ghosh
Method of Instruction On-Line Only
Course Description The course provides a broad survey of court societies and cultures as they grew and spread their influence in premodern world, especially South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We will study Indic, Persianate and Islamicate cultural formations in the courtly sphere and discuss the larger trends that facilitated their emergence. Rather than moving chronologically from ‘early medieval’, ‘medieval’ to ‘early modern’ periods we will move thematically looking at the ways in which the court functioned as an institution and enabled particular cultural and intellectual practices. One of the major sub-themes that we will discuss covers the idea of genres and recording practices. What were the modes of courtly expression of the past? How did such practices shape the idea of ‘history’ in the premodern world? We will locate the institution of the court within a network of relations with other political institutions – most importantly the Hindu, Islamic and Buddhist religious centers. Along with this, we will consider ways in which kings, queens, courtiers, courtesans, poets, scholars, concubines and religious persons contributed to the flourishing of ‘court aesthetics’ and laid the foundations of political style and governance in premodern South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Among primary materials, we will study political poems, plays, prose chronicles and courtly manuals in understanding the nature of political rule. This is an introductory course and prior knowledge of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East – either its languages, geographies or histories – is not required.
Web Site Vergil
Department Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies
Enrollment 13 students (15 max) as of 9:00PM Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Subject Middle East
Number UN3047
Section 001
Division Interfaculty
Campus Morningside
Section key 20211MDES3047W001

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