ARTH 218-601
From Medieval Patrons to Contemporary Performance:
Women and the Arts of Islam
Instructor: Michelle Rein
T 6-9:10

Course Description

This course will explore the history of women in relation to the arts of the Islamic world. The class will be a diachronic study. We will begin with architectural patrons, generally mothers, wives, and sisters of sultans. These princesses and regent queens found power and purpose in the sponsorship of constructing buildings for their people. Such buildings tended to be aimed at social responsibility, including but not limited to hospitals, soup kitchens, and community mosques. We will continue our investigation by exploring decorative arts reserved for women, notably textiles, carpets, and arts of the body. Finally, we will move into the contemporary art world, with an examination of women artist like Shirin Neshat, whose work uses materials and images with traditional Islamic themes such as calligraphy, henna, and embroidery. Contemporary women artists turn traditional images and materials into tools for social criticism. This course will look at a multitude of media, from architecture to photography and film. We will come to see that the women we have so often been told have no voice, in fact have made themselves heard throughout history via the language of visual expression.

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Last update: July 17, 2003

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