Europe and the Islamic World, c 1450-1750 - HIST6009

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Cultures never develop and grow in isolation. They are built on the values of past generations, and they are shaped and challenged in interaction with other cultures. The main objective of this module is to explore and present the powerful interaction between Europe and the Islamic world in early modern times, c. 1450-1750.
The course will firstly provide an overview of the rise and fall of three major Islamic states and empires (the Abbasid Caliphate, the Safavid Empire, the Ottoman Empire). It will then assess the early modern European encounter with the Islamic world 1) by discussing the scholarly, religious, political and economic incentives for this encounter; 2) by documenting the exchange of knowledge, ideas, values and material objects this encounter stimulated in the early modern period; 3) by exploring the enormous impact, which this encounter had on European civilization.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 270
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 1 (3,000 words) 16%
Essay 2 (3,000 words) 16%
Presentation and Seminar Participation 8%
Examination 2-hours 60%

Reassessment methods:
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Norman Daniel, Islam and the West. The Making of an Image, new ed. (2009)
Natalie Zemon Davies, Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim between the Worlds (New York 2006)
Adam S. Francisco, Martin Luther and Islam. A Study in Sixteenth-Century Polemics and Apologetics (Leiden, 2007).
Robert Irwin, For Lust of Knowledge. The Orientalists and their Enemies (2006)
Gerald MacLean The Rise of Oriental Travel. English Visitors to the Ottoman Empire 1580-1720 (Basingstoke, 2004)
Margarete Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance historical thought (2008)
The Quran, trans. Tarif Khalidi (2008).
Edward Said, Orientalism (1978)
George Saliba, Islamic Science and the Making of European Renaissance (Massachusetts, 2007)
G J. Toomer, Eastern Wisedome and Learning. The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford, 1996).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Been introduced to the history of the political, social and cultural developments in the Islamic world between 1450-1750 and its relation to early modern Europe.
2 Acquired an understanding of the cultural encounter and historical interaction between Christian Europe and the Islamic world, appreciating the impact this encounter had on the development of European civilization.
3 Assessed critically and historically the Christian-European perception of the Islamic world and vice versa.
4 Acquired knowledge and understanding of a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches regarding the history of cultural exchange, cultural encounters and intercultural perceptions. They will in particular acquire a critical understanding of the 'Orientalism'- debate and its impact on the disciplines of cultural, postcolonial and political history.
5 Demonstrated an understanding of the complexities and the context of various primary sources relating to the European perception of the Islamic world. To read them critically.
6 Developed their critical understanding of different historical approaches and degrees of bias as well as of the methodological complexities in the historical record itself.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 enhanced their ability to express complex ideas and arguments orally and in writing, skills which can be transferred to other areas of study and employment.
2 enhanced communication, presentational skills and information technology skills.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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