MENA/PRS 536 - Love, Sex and Desire in the Islamicate Imaginary

This course explores theories and representations of love in pre-modern Islamicate literature and philosophy. Today we often think of love as a personal emotional experience, but pre-modern authors theorized and portrayed love as a social, political, and even cosmological force. Through primary sources and scholarly studies, we will investigate how the language and structures of eroticism came to condition a whole range of interpersonal relationships, from political patronage to sufi discipleship and believers' relationships with God. We will also consider how the erotic functioned as an arena for ethical practice and self-shaping. Although all materials are provided in English translation, graduate students will also engage with Arabic, Persian, and/or Ottoman Turkish primary sources to the extent their language abilities permit.

Course Credits