Islamic Art and Architecture

This document is a syllabus reflecting course content developed for, "Islamic Art and Architecture," by Dr. Glaire Anderson of Dartmouth College.

Course Description

This course introduces the arts of the Islamic lands from the 7th c. rise of the Umayyad dynasty of Syria to the 16th c. expansion of the Ottoman empire. By examining the socio-historical contexts within which Islamic art and architecture developed, the course will provide a basic understanding of its major themes and regional variations.

Required Textbooks

Robert Hillenbrand, Islamic Art and Architecture (London: Thames and Hudson, World of Art, 1999)
Robert Irwin, Islamic Art in Context (NY: Abrams Perspectives, 1997)

Beginnings: Pre-Islamic contexts and early Islamic art 

  • Albert Hourani, "The Making of a World," p.1-31; "Ways of Islam," p.147-57 In A History of the Arab Peoples (NY, 1991)
  • Irwin, "The Historical Background," p. 17-36
  • Hillenbrand, "Birth of Islamic Art: the Umayyads," 11-37
Power shifts East: 'Abbasid Mesopotamia
  • Hourani, 32-37 
  • Irwin, " 'Abbasid Palaces," 106-111; "Calligraphy," 177-81
  • Hillenbrand, " 'Abbasids," 38-60
  • Rabbat, Nasser. 1989. "The Meaning of the Umayyad Dome of the Rock." In Muqarnas VI: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture. Oleg Grabar, ed. Leiden: E.J. Brill
  • Ira Lapidus, "Islamic North Africa and Spain to the 19th c." 299-319 
  • Hourani, p. 41-43 (starting from last paragraph on p.41) along with "The Culture of Courts and People," 189-205.
  • Irwin, "Spain," 221-224; "Sicily," 224-226; "Crystal, Jade, & Ivory," and "Textiles," 155-165
  • Hillenbrand, "The Muslim West," 167-95
  • Dodds, "The Great Mosque of Cordoba," In al-Andalus:the Arts of Islamic Spain (NY: 1992) p.11-25
Early Islamic North Africa/ Fatimid Cairo 
  • Irwin, "Fatimid Egypt and Muslim Spain," 42-43; "Fatimid Cairo and its Palaces," 112-115; "Ceramics," 148-152
  • Hillenbrand, "The Fatimids," 61-85.
  • Doris Behrens-Abouseif, "The Façade of the al-Aqmar Mosque in the context of Fatimid Ceremonial," Muqarnas Volume IX: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture (1992)
Iran & Central Asia after the Disintegration of the Caliphate 
  • Ira Lapidus, "The post-Abbasid Middle Eastern state system," 112-32
  • Irwin, "Samanid, Ghaznavid, and Seljuq Dynasties," 40-42
  • Hillenbrand, "Saljuqs," 86-110.
  • Oya Pancaroglu, "Serving Wisdom: Contents of Samanid Epigraphic Pottery," Studies in Islamic and Later Indian Art From the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Art Museums, 2002), 58-75.
In the Wake of the Mongols
  • Ira Lapidus, "Iran: the Mongol, Timurid, and Safavid Empires," A History of Islamic Societies, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 2002) 226-34
  • Irwin, "Mongols and Timurids," 49-50; "Patronage Under the Mongols and Timurids," 91-95; "Palaces of the Mongols," 126-128; "Illuminated manuscript section on Shahnama," bottom of 185-191.
  • Hillenbrand, "Ilkhanids and Timurids," 196-225.
  • Slave Rulers: the Seljuq Successor States
  • Lapidus, "The Saljuq Model: State and Religion" p.290-94
  • Irwin, "Turkish pre-eminence and the Mamluk Sultans," 46; "Later Mamluk Period," 48-49; "Illuminated manuscript," 181-185 (exclude section on Shahnama)
  • Hillenbrand, "Age of the Atabegs," 111-137; "Mamluks," 138-166.
Persianate Cultures: Safavids and Mughals
  • Ira Lapidus, "The Indian Subcontinent: the Delhi Sultanates and the Mughal Empire," A History of Islamic Societies, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 2002), p.356-78; "Safavid Iran," 234-247.
  • Irwin, "Safavid Patronage," 95-96 (exclude section from Mehmed II on); "Palaces of Safavid Isfahan," 130-131
  • Hillenbrand, " Safavids," 226-254.
Out of Anatolia: the Ottoman Empire
  • Hourani, "The Ottoman Empire," 209-48
  • Irwin, "Mehmed II and Suleyman," 96-101; "Topkapi Palace in Istanbul," 128-131; "Iznik," 152-154
  • Hillenbrand, "Ottomans," 255-280.
  • Necipoglu, Gulru. 1993. Framing the Gaze in Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Palaces. In Ars Orientalis, Vol. 23, 303-42
Anderson, Glaire. "Islamic Art and Architecture." Syllabus. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH [date not provided.]

Glaire Anderson
architectural history