The program will survey historical texts that emerge in and around Europe’s engagement with Muslim societies and the creation of a “modern world.” It will explore key issues surrounding the history of the Enlightenment, the rise of historicism and the growing interest in universal histories through the engagement with Arabic texts and North African histories from the mid-eighteenth century to the mid twentieth century.
All interested GSP students must enroll in an accompanying course held on Columbia's campus in the Spring 2020 semester: ISLAM AND THE MODERN WORLD: Critical Texts and Practices in the Study of Muslim Societies. The course is designed to expand the intellectual worlds students are generally exposed to in Contemporary Civilizations and similar “Big Books” courses by having them engage with primary texts from Muslim intellectuals--- primarily from North Africa. The course is also designed to expand the material worlds of students by taking them to do field research in Tunisia and Morocco, where they will meet their own peers; intellectuals and teachers; and conduct guided work in archives and repositories.
This two-week Summer 2020 field research and study abroad experience will allow students to put into practice the analytical and research skills they gained in the spring in order to finalize their fuller research project that they will continue to work on during and after their visits to Tunis, Rabat, and Fez.
Visits will be made to libraries, archives, museum collections, and literary societies in both cities as well as time set aside to work alongside local academics, social workers, creative and visual artists through classroom and site visits.