NMC280H1: The Caliphate: Early Islamic History from Ancient Arabia to the Abbasid Empire



The formative period of Islam, including the Prophet and origins of the caliphate. This course surveys the history of the Middle East and its religious, social, and political transformations between late antiquity and the medieval period, from roughly the 6th to the 10th century CE. Starting with the available evidence on pre-Islamic Arabs, we study the making of the Islamic empire from Spain to Central Asia, the early caliphates (Umayyads, Abbasids, and Fatimids), the emergence of competing traditions in Islam (Sunnis, Shi‘is, and Ibadis), and other developments of enduring significance. Particular attention is paid to primary sources and scholarly debates on the challenges of early Islamic historiography.

Society and its Institutions (3)