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Al-Andalus: The Glory and Fall of Moorish Spain

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

This course is currently not being offered in the academic year 2015 - 2016.

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Suitable for those with no previous knowledge of the subject, this course looks at the eight centuries of Moorish rule throughout much of the Iberian Peninsula. They spanned the period from the brutish post-Roman Visigothic Dark Ages to the year in which Columbus set sail for Asia but “discovered” the Americas. It was a key period not only for the Peninsula and the Europe of its day but has also left an indelible legacy for us all which is often overlooked and underplayed. The three cultures – Christian, Islamic and Jewish – coexisted and collaborated to spectacular effect, producing breath-taking advances in many fields such as science, engineering,  medicine, art and architecture, philosophy, learning, cuisine and in trade and agriculture. This unprecedented period of progress was threatened whenever one culture sought domination and ended with the Spanish Inquisition. This long-term example of constructive synergy is a model worthy of revisiting in our globalized, technological and increasingly secular world in which intolerance often rears its head.

The syllabus content:

1) Introduction: The military and Political History of Moorish Spain
2) Three Men of Action (El Cid, Al-Mansur & Samuel Ha-Nagid)
3) Agriculture, Trade and the Economy
4) Science and Inventions
5) Three Thinkers (Averroes, Maimonides & Alfonso X)
6) Intolerance
7) Architecture and Art
8) Literature and Music
9) The Cultural Mix
10) The Legacy of Moorish Spain

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in the subject. No previous knowledge is assumed.

Learning and Teaching

There will be a mixture of short lectures and discussion, the precise proportion to be determined by the needs of the students enrolled. Also we will discuss case-studies, including visual sources and source criticism. This will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the topics and ideas discussed in the course. Intellectual skills will be encouraged through participation in class discussion, reading and coursework.

Coursework and Assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

Assessment for this course is very flexible. There is a choice:

1) 1 x 1500 word essay from a choice of three
2) 3 x 500 word essays from a choice of five
3) A weekly course diary of at least 8 x 200 words summarizing your thoughts of the topic under discussion each week
4) One half of the requirements of any of (1) to (3) above in combination with a class presentation on a relevant topic to be agreed with the tutor ((2) would be 1 x 750 word essay)

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions

Essential texts

Recommended Texts

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.