Minor in Abrahamic Religions - Sultans and Shahs: Polity and Religion in the Islamic Gunpowder Age (1500-1800) RELS 3510   Sultans and Shahs: Polity and Religion in the Islamic Gunpowder Age (1500-1800)
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Until the devastating Mongol invasions of the 13th century, the principal centers of Islamic power, culture, and thought had been based in Cairo and Baghdad. This course will examine the post-Mongol Islamic world, and how politics and religion were irrevocably changed with the annihilation of the Sunni `Abbasid caliphate. Religious heterodoxy, combined with the power vacuum left by Chingiz Khan and his descendents, allowed for the emergence of a number of unique Turkmen states in Western Asia, the most famous being the Ottoman Turks of Anatolia. By 1500, innovations in military technology and the paper-making industry allowed for the emergence of centralized and bureaucratically-sophisticated 'gunpowder' empires in western and south Asia. This course will discuss the three most significant of these: the Ottoman Turks (based in Istanbul), the Safavid Persians (based in Isfahan), and the Mughal Indians (based in Delhi). Areas of focus will include: issues of political legitimacy, use of military 'slave' corps, orthodox and popular religious movements, tensions between nomadic and sedentary segments of society, innovations in cultural expression (poetry, art, architecture), scientific and philosophical development, and the penetration and impact of the Portuguese, English, Dutch, and French 'world economies' into Asia and the Indian Ocean. This course will also examine different debates regarding the 'decline of the East', and introduce the theoretical implications of how the Islamic world is approached by contemporary scholarship.
NOTES: Credit can only be given for this course if X and Y are completed in consecutive terms and partial credit cannot be given for a single term.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

PREREQUISITES: HIST 2501.03 or 2502.03 or 2503.03
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 3510.03