History of Art  517 
Prof. Renata Holod (rholod @sas.upenn. edu) 
Fall 1997 
From Region to Neighborhood :  Reading the City in the Islamic World 
(This course is taught parallel to a similar course at MIT by Prof. 
Petruccioli.  Lectures will be exchanged by the instructors and there 
will be two  joint meetings of the students in the two classes) 
Two aims of course:  To understand the internal (historically and 
culturally developed) ideas and realizations of the city, and to analyze 
it with contemporary, externally generated methodologies: 
A. Internal  (How is city imaged and imagined):  
1.  early Islamic concepts, a reconstruction 
2.  Baghdad, a model or unicum, and a failure and myth 
3.  the embrace of law and urban order 
4.  large scale urban complexes and their impact of the fabric of the 
5.  conception of space (city, suburb, countryside, region) 
        a/ in literature 
        b/in cartography 
        c/in geographic manuals 
        d/in its location in the world order and cosmography 
        e/in local histories 
        f/in nomenclature 
        h/mapping-the visible and invisible worlds  
B.  External:  (How we can approach the study of urban fabric)  
1.  culture geography and typology 
2.  locational analysis 
3.  water resources 
4.  routes ( region- city connections)  
5.  micro-climate and micro-geography 
6.  thoroughfare and access 
7.  physical stratigraphy 
8.  social stratigraphy 
Course Schedule: 
Week 1 (Sept. 4)           	General Introduction:  Aims of the 			
				course, nature of urban agglomeration, 					
				reading the map, question of 						
				terminology. The study of the Islamic 					
				City:  historiography and methods 					
Week 2 (Sept. 11)               Civilization and territory: A synchronic 					
				and diachronic reading (Petruccioli) 
				ridge: Kabilia, Algeria, 'Massif 						
                                valley:  Nile, Ghouta of Damascus, 							  Isfahan 
                                plains:  Tigris/Euphrates, Tunisia 
Week 3 (Sept.18)                City imaged and imagined:  Internal 					
				sources for the reading of the city, 					
				geography, travel literature, local 						
				history, visual record. (Holod)  
Week 4 (Sept. 25)        	Morphology of the territory and 						
				hydraulic distribution: 
                                The oasis:  North African 							
				examples, Iranian  examples, Indian 					
				examples (Petruccioli) 
Week 5 (Oct.  2)  		Region and settlement before the 						
				Islamic Conquest: 
                                continuities and changes:  e.g.  North 					
				Africa, Levant, Central Asia  (Holod) 
Week 6  			no lecture on Oct 9 
 				First Student Presentations (October 11-14)  
				specific date to be determined 
Week 7 (Oct. 16)  		Models for the new foundations of the urban 				
				entities,  madina, misr, Kufa, Umayyad 					
				foundations and transformations, Abbasid 				
				foundations and copies (Holod) 
Week 8 (Oct. 23)		North African towns  and  Fatimids:  					
				Cairo, Palermo,   Moroccan cities 	
Week 9 (Oct. 30)   		The Iranian area:  urbanization from the 				
				Buyids to the Safavids:  Isfahan, Yazd, 					
				Merv (Holod) 
Week 10 (Nov. 6)        	The residential neighborhood:  house 					
				and aggregation case studies from North 				
				Africa (Petruccioli)  
Week 11 ( Nov. 13)      	House and street:  Iran and Syria case 					
				studies (Holod) 
Week 12  (Nov. 20)      	(Petruccioli)  to be announced    
Week 13  Thanksgiving 
Week 14  (December 6-7)  
Second Student Presentations                
Every student will choose a city to study.   
A poster session on the chosen city  will be presented at the first group 
At the second group meeting each student will present an aspect of the 
urban study, illustrated from the chosen city.   
The final work, to be handed in during exam period,  should consist of a 
bibliography, and visual and a written analysis.  
A partial list of cities to be chosen : Rabat, Tunis, Cordoba, Toledo, 
Valencia, Granada, Cairo, Damascus, Salonika, Ankara, Isfahan, Bukhara, 
Samarkand, Lamu, Sana'a, Siraf, Shiraz, Lahore, Fatehpur Sikri, 
Hyderabad, Delhi.  (Other cities can be proposed on consultation with the 
A specific bibliography will be assembled for each city case.  
General Reading:  
Bonine, Micheal, Eckert Ehlers, Thomas  Krafft and Georg Stober, 
(eds.)The Middle Eastern City and Islamic Urbanism  Bonn, 1994 
Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, 3 vols., translated by Franz Rosenthal, 
Princeton, 1967 
Janet L. Abu-Lughod, What is the Islamic City- Historic Myth, Islamic 
essence and Contemporary Relevance International Journal of Middle 
Eastern Studies, 19 ( 55-176) 
 - .