This document is a syllabus for the course "Islamic Gardens & Geographies" developed by Professor James L. Wescoat Jr. of the Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture at MIT.
This seminar focuses on the historical geography of Islamic gardens, from Andalusia to Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on the Indian subcontinent. The seminar links historical geographic methods with thematic interpretations and debates about gardens and their larger symbolic and territorial contexts. We explore evidence from archaeological, art historical, and cartographic sources – and we will use historical geography as an integrative method. Discussion topics include garden cosmologies, cultural landscapes, and eschatologies, along with their contemporary significance for heritage conservation and environmental design. Students will conduct original research and interpretation in either a scholarly or design research mode.