Early Modern Islamic World: Art and Empire

This course is an introduction to the great Islamic empires of the early modern (15th through the 18th centuries) Muslim world.

Islamic textiles

The Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires shared a common Central Asian Turco-Mongol Muslim inheritance. At the peak of their success, their united geographic distribution covered all of west, central and south Asia. Over time—and in the face of mutual rivalries and the influence of their diverse and often unfriendly subject populations—each of these dynasties innovated unique and distinctive methods for coping with the success of their imperial ambitions. Yet even as they dramatically modified their imperial characters, the empires continued to remain culturally united through their retention of a set of common aesthetic, political and social values.

This course will establish sound political and economic understandings of the period and the geographic spaces involved, but this is fundamentally a comparative and cross-regional exploration of early modern imperial culture and society. Our focus will be on art, architecture and landscape, literature, religion, law and kingship, family and inheritance—all of which have a role in shaping the cultural heritage of the Muslim world today.

Students will have an opportunity to view and study works of art produced in Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal workshops on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
MLSC 557 Lisa Balabanlilar On-campus 6:15-9:30 p.m. Monday, April 2, 2018

Instructor: Lisa Balabanlilar

Lisa Balabanlilar, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at Rice University. She teaches courses on South Asian History, Asian Civilizations, Cultural Trends in Medieval Islam, Comparative Early Modern Islamic Empires, Raj and Resistance and the Mughal Empire, among other topics. In 2016, Dr. Balabanlilar was awarded Rice’s top teaching honor, the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She also received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2014 and the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize in 2010. Dr. Balabanlilar’s research explores the Timurid-Mughal Empire of Central and South Asia and encompasses Islamic South Asia, comparative imperial court culture and early modern Islamic empires. She received her doctorate from the Ohio State University in 2007.

Term: Spring/Summer 2018

Start Date: Apr. 02, 2018

End Date: June 04, 2018

Schedule: 6:15-9:30 p.m.

Length: Ten Mondays with two extra classes to be scheduled

Location: Rice campus

Note: This course is part of the Graduate Liberal Studies program. For more information on how to apply, click ADMISSIONS below.

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