Architecture of the Islamic World

Melanie Michailidis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Developed and published in 2004; revised June 2015

This course surveys the art and architecture of the Islamic world from the 7th through the 20th centuries using material available online through Archnet. It examines the form and function of architecture as well as the social, historical and cultural contexts, patterns of use, and evolving meanings attributed to buildings by the users.

About the course

The course is designed for undergraduates and is based on a 13-week semester and biweekly meetings of approximately 1.5 hours, although the syllabus contains weekly headings so that adjustments can easily be made for classes meeting three times per week. The syllabus can be printed and distributed to students, whereas these notes are designed as a guide for the instructor, with lists of the readings, suggested monuments with links to the images, and the main points of stress for each lecture. Required readings are given in the order they should be read to ensure maximum comprehension. Recommended readings contain supplementary material, material which may be more difficult to comprehend, and articles on minor monuments and subsidiary topics. Adjustments may of course be made to suit the level of the students, the time available, and the interests of the instructor; what follows is a suggested course which attempts to instill in the student a broad awareness of the diversity and the main achievements of Islamic architecture from the beginnings of Islam to the present day.


Download the entire syllabus for the course including the hyperlinks to Archnet resources and presentation notes in PDF format. [Download]

Melanie Michailidis