Topic : Islamic History
As a part of the assessment for this module you are required to write an essay of 2500 words on any one of the following titles. Essay should be of maximum 2,500 words excluding references and bibliography. For further advice and guidance on structure and layout of essay please read further down.
1. Critically explore the significance of Islamic Spain (al-Andalus) in Islamic History. Students should address why al-Andalus is often described as the ‘Golden Age’ of Islamic history. Students should also explore the competing theories regarding the exceptionality of Islamic Spain, and also analyse why the legacy of al-Andalus has become such a strongly contested area of study.
2. The Millet system attempted to organise different communities within one society. Discuss its efficacy in regard to pluralism. Students are expected to discuss the system with the particular reference to its effectiveness in terms of social inclusion. Students should also explain the historical inception of such a system; how did it operate and whether it contributed to the overall betterment of the Empire? Students may also compare and contrast the Millet system with modern notions of ‘multi-culturalism’
3. Critically explore the demise of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire existed for over 600 years, dissolving completely in 1924 with the abolition of the Caliphate. Students are expected to explore the factors that led to the decline of the Ottoman Empire, exploring internal and external factors.
4. How significant a role did Muslim women play in Muslim social, political, intellectual and economic history? Students are expected to explore the contentious discussions regarding the portrayals of gender within historical works. Students should make reference to various contributions made by Muslim women regarding Islamic history and explore why these contributions have been overlooked by contemporary scholarship.
5. What were the main functions of the medieval madrasa? Students should explore which sections of society were able to access the services of the medieval Madrasa. Could the madrasa be described as an instrument of social inclusion or did it merely create and reproduce an elite? Students may also seek to explore the differences between historical and contemporary conceptions regarding the role of the madrasa within society.