Films: "The Arabs make Their Entrance: Islam and Empire"; "Once Upon a Time: Baghdad during the Abbasid Dynasty."
I. The reconfiguration of politics, economics and culture as a result of the rise of Islam.
II. Brief comments on Muslim beliefs and diversity.
B. Muhammad the last in a line of prophets.
C. Islamic "scriptures."
D. The "five pillars" of Islam: ease of conversion and sense of community.
E. Diversity within Islam: Sunnis, including Sufis; Shiites.
F. Attitude toward followers of other monotheistic "religions of the book."
III. The creation of a great empire.
A. A look at the map.
B. A tale of two cities?1. The Umayyids and Damascus: architecture, mosaics and coins.B. Statistical profile of conversion.
2. The Abbasids and Baghdad: Khalid b. Barmak from Balkh and the round city; the "House of Wisdom"; Kalila wa Dimna (tr. by Ibn al-Muqaffa).
C. Political fragmentation within a framework of common belief.
D. The importance of Arabic--Ibn Battuta's 14th century evidence.
E. The economy; the "Pirenne thesis."
IV. The Arabs in Central Asia.
A. Chronology of conquest.
B. The local cultural response.1. The fate of the Sogdians: Divashtich; the palace at Varakhsha.C. The Samanids and the real Islamization of Central Asia (Frye, pp. 200-207).
2. Regional autonomy and culture in Khurasan: rebellions of Bihafarid, Sunbadh, al-Muqanna (Frye, ch. 7).
D. The significance of the Turkic "states."
V. Video: "The Muslim Town under the Caliphate."