Cultures and Religions: Muslims, Jews, Christians in Southern Europe

ISA Seville Study Center

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Cultures and Religions: Muslims, Jews, Christians in Southern Europe

  • Host University

    ISA Seville Study Center

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, International Studies, Religion

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    USF Course Code: REL 3936

    Prerequisite: none; taught in English.

    Students: ISA students

    Contact hours: 45

    I. Course Objective:
    This course will analyze the period of coexistence among the three religions and how this situation was crucial in the creation not only of the Medieval Kingdoms but also of the modern nation of Spain. Historic, artistic, politic, economic, religious, musical and even gastronomical parameters will be used for a better understanding of Al-Andalus from both a theoretical and daily life perspective. The course will also focus on the present situation to comprehend the multicultural complexity of Al-Andalus society.

    II. Learning outcomes: 

    -    Be familiar with the diverse cultures that had an impact on the culture and history of the Iberian Peninsula 
    -    Analyze the reasons for the fall of the Visigoths
    -    Study the characteristics of the three cultures and their common points. 
    -    Learn the values behind the interaction among the three cultures. 
    -    Identify the artistic creations of that time 
    -    Relate the heritage of Al-Andalus in the Peninsula to another physical space and another time. 

    III. Course contents (order of content may be modified): 

    -    Geographic locations in Spain 
    -    Brief introduction of the native people and colonizers

    -    The barbarians 
    -    Politics in the Visigothic Hispania
    -    Church and Visigothic culture
    -    Visigothic heritage

    -    Muslim’s arrival and Christian reaction
    -    Umayyad dynasty in the Peninsula
    -    Hispanic-Christian resistance
    -    The end of the Umayyad Caliphate
    -    Taifa kingdoms
    -    Invasions from the north of Africa: Almoravids, Almohads and Marinids
    -    Granada kingdom
    Cultural activities (pending confirmation): 
        The Muslim world. A Moroccan Muslim give you an insight into his culture.
        A taste of Arabic tea and pastries 
    Visit to the Moroccan Pavilion at Expo’92. 

    -    Jews and Christians in Al-Andalus 
    -    The “Monarch of the three religions”. Jews and Muslims in the Christian Kingdoms. 
    -    Mozarabs. Moriscos. Sephardits.
    -    Conversos and false conversos.
    -    Pilgrimage. The case of Saint James way.
    -    The role of the Spanish Inquisition
    Cultural activity (pending confirmation): 
    Guided field trip around the Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville’s Jewish Quarter. 

    -    Administration:
    o    Political institutions
    o    Tax system
    o    Justice
    -    Economy and society:
    o    Coexistence between Muslims and taxpayers
    o    Urban vs. rural life
    o    Agricultural economy
    o    Trade
    -    Daily life interactions:
    o    Family
    o    Leisure time
    o    Hammam
    o    Health
    -    Artistic and intellectual sphere:
    o    Arquitecture
    o    Craftwork
    o    Education system
    o    Prose and poetry
    o    Dance and Music

    -    Sephardic communities. Past and present situation 
    -    Muslims who left the Peninsula.
    -    Outgoing influences. Influences of Al-Andalus outside of Al-Andalus.

    -    The “Reconquista”: myth and reality
    -    The role of Judaism and Islamism in the formation of the Spanish civilization.
    -    Socio-economic consequences of the expulsion from the Peninsula.
    -    The three religions and the State today.
    -    Relations between Spain and the Jews.
    -    Spain, a bridge between Muslims and Europe. From the immigration to the Alianza of Civilizaciones. 

    IV. Course pack: 
    Students will be required to purchase a course pack (less than 20€).The professor will provide further information the first day of class. 

    V.I. How to succeed in this course? 
    Everyone participates in this course. Participation and meaningful interaction with the professor and peers is as essential to the course as writing the assigned paper and taking the exam. Keeping the tasks of the subject up-to-date is key to assimilating the contents, something that cannot be achieved if only the study time is concentrated before the midterm or final. 
    The project represents a 15% of the course. According to my experience when students do not come prepared, the presentation may become disorganized, unclear and will not engage the audience. The key to be successful with this requisite is “preparation”. Class mates are expected to ask questions relative to the presentation and this will be valued as part of the participation. 

    VI. Grading scale:
    Final grades will be calculated according to the following scale:

    Grading Scale (%)

    94-100         A

    90 – 93        A-

    87 – 89        B+

    84 – 86        B

    80 – 83        B-

    77 – 79        C+

    74 – 76        C

    70 – 73        C-

    67 – 69        D+

    64 – 66        D

    60 – 63        D-

    0 – 59          F

    Grade dispute: 

    The deadline for claiming grades is 30 days from the receipt of the certificate at the university of origin.

    VII. Course Policies

    VII.I. Attendance: 
    Class attendance is mandatory and is taken every class day and it is reflected in the course attendance sheet.
    An 85% attendance rate is required for the successful completion of the course. Perfect attendance will be taken positively into account in the participation section. 
    If a student exceeds this limit, 1 point will be taken off of the final grade (Spanish grade). Reaching a 20% of unexcused absences means that the transcript for this subject will show “not attended course”. 
    Excused absences: Medical Certificates that will be considered only if issued by a physician (not notes from the family explaining the student’s absence). The certificates must include the exact dates for which a student should be excused for having missed classes. Courses cannot be audited, so attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class. 
    Punctuality: Students are expected to arrive on time to class and to return directly to class after class breaks. Arriving 10 minutes late (or more) and/or early class departures are considered unexcused absences and will be taken into account as half an absence. 

    Attending class is not only the presence in the classroom. The professor will encourage active participation in the course and it will be taken into account as part of the evaluation.  

    Courses cannot be taken as auditors, thus attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class.

    VII.II. Conduct in class.
    Students who actively participate in classroom activities and who maintain a professional and respectful attitude will be evaluated positively. Students must not eat or use laptops during the class (unless specifically authorized by the teacher).  

    VII.III. Late work. 
    One half point will be taken off (from the learning activities grade) for homework that is submitted late repeatedly. Late assignments will be corrected but will not be graded. 
    Missing a class does not release the student from completing the homework assigned or studying the topics covered in class that day. 

    VII.IV. Make-up exams:
    If a student cannot be present for an examination for a valid reason (see V.II.) and approved by the teacher and academic direction, a make-up exam will be given. 

    VII.V. Quizzes retention:
    After quizzes are graded, the professor will review the examination with the class and collect all exams. The quizzes will be retained for one semester following the current one, and then they will be destroyed. 

    VII.VI. Academic Honesty:
    Students are expected to act in accordance with their university standards of conduct concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty. 

    VII.VII. Special accommodations: 
    Students with special needs who require reasonable accommodations, special assistance or specific aid in this course (either for properly making-up classes, taking exams, etc.) should direct their request to Academic Coordination during the first days of the course in the case that they did not report it when submitting the Health Form. 

    Teaching staff is required to report any disclosures harassment or violence of any kind. 


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