Spring 2019: Aesthetics in Islam and Judaism

Tuesdays 5:30-8:20pm, Carol Bier and Francesco Spagnolo

This course examines various approaches to the study of aesthetics in Islam and Judaism, and explores a variety of visual and performing arts, as well as literary texts. Considerations of aesthetics in Islam focus on diverse cultural traditions and intersectionality of the arts; questions of representation, addressing such concerns as abstraction, geometry, and meaning; and the centrality of the Qur’an through calligraphy, illumination, and monumental inscriptions. Approaches to aesthetics in Judaism focus on synagogue liturgy as a synesthetic experience encompassing time/form, space/architecture, text/literature, sound/music, and gesture/choreography, and the confluence of diverse and often conflicting aesthetic dimensions of Jewish ritual in the global diaspora, including the liturgy of Jews in Islamic lands. Particular attention will be paid to aesthetic “values” such as non-linearity, repetition, and discontinuity.

Prior Courses

Texts and Contexts: Judaism and Islam
Fall, 2016

Madrasa-Midrasha: Islamic and Jewish Texts
Spring, 2010

Student Research Grants

Exploring the Role of Female Activism in Islamic and Jewish Tradition
Mahjabeen Dhala (CIS)

Imagining an Islamic Liberation Theology in a Post-Truth World
Ahmed Ibrahim Moss (CIS)

Abrahamic Hevruta: Developing Pedagogies of Interfaith Education
Bat Shiva Miller (CJS), Mahajabeen Dhala (CIS) and Jonathan Homrighausen (JST/SCU/GTU)

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