History 280 (201) Islamic World History




Course Level



This course studies the history of the Muslim world in its global dimensions and contexts. It considers the emergence of an Islamic polity in seventh-century Arabia, the rise of the caliphate to encompass a diverse empire, and the global diffusion of Muslim states, societies, and diasporas. It is not a course about Islamic theology or the religious beliefs and cultural practices of Muslims. Rather, it explores the formation of Islamic states and institutions from a historical perspective. In doing so, it seeks to move away from viewing Islam as a monolithic, timeless entity and instead explores its historical pathways without privileging any single narrative or viewpoint. Ultimately, the course asks how useful the category of “Islam” is to understanding the global past.  HIST 280 will introduce students to the methods of historical practice, including primary-source analysis, historical writing, library and research skills, and public history.