By the end of the semester, students will become familiar with core themes in the history of Muslim societies and their links to the pre-modern world, covering such geopolitical zones as Europe, Byzantium, Central Asia, Iran, and India. Through a selection of examples students will learn about the active role of art and architecture in expressing political, cultural and social identities in the Muslim world. Students will also develop ways of thinking historically/art-historically, and gain the ability to utilize a comparative approach in order to better understand multi-cultural and multi-confessional objects; students will be able to better evaluate intercultural interactions, mobility of ideas, circulation and reception of knowledge, re-contextualization of ‘foreign’ artifacts into local aesthetic. In addition, students will strengthen their ability to comprehend and appreciate the innovative transformations of religion and religious visual culture into displays of power and universal order. This course should also enhance their capability to think critically, compare, contrast, challenge and synthesize different ideas, theories, and assumptions. More specifically, students will gain hands-on experience with artworks and be engaged in critical reading of historical sources and modern scholarship which will help students understand diverse philosophies and cultures within and across societies.