HUMS 233, Classics of the Arabic-Islamic World

Meeting Time: 
M 3:30-5:20p

Course Description

Arabic-Islamic civilization has produced numerous works that would make it onto almost anyone’s list of wondrous books. In this course, we will read a selection of (or from) those books and study the literary and intellectual cultures that produced them in an attempt to deepen and nuance our understanding of Islamic civilization. Readings will include the Qur’an, classical Arabic poetry, Jahiz’s epistles, the Maqamat of Hariri, al-Ghazali, the Shahnameh,  Leyli ve Mejnun, the Conference of the Birds, the Hang Tuah Epic, Aisha al-Bauniyyah’s Sufi poetry, and much else besides. All readings in translation.

Led by:

Professor Shawkat Toorawa

Professor Toorawa’s scholarly interests include: classical and medieval Arabic literature, especially the literary and writerly culture of Abbasid Baghdad; the Qur’an, in particular hapaxes, rhyme-words, and translation; the literatures of Mauritius; modern poetry; and SF film and literature.

Professor Toorawa books include the study Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur and Arabic Writerly Culture: a ninth-century bookman in Baghdad (RoutledgeCurzon 2004), an edition and collaborative translation of Ibn al-Sa’i’s 13th-century Consorts of the Caliph: Women and the Court of Baghdad (NYU 2015), and the edited anthology The City That Never Sleeps: Poems of New York (SUNY 2015).

He is preparing an edition and translation of Ibn al-Marzuban’s The Superiority of Dogs to People, a 10th-century work on friendship, and the co-edited collection Arabic Belles Lettres (Lockwood, 2019) is out this year.

Toorawa is active as a Director of the School of Abbasid Studies; as an executive editor of the Library of Arabic Literature (an initiative to edit and translate the premodern Arabic literary heritage); and as host of The dr T projecT.