This course surveys the political, social, and cultural history of the Islamic World from the 7th to 15th centuries, with particular attention paid to the diverse geographical and cultural contexts in which pre-modern Islamic civilization flourished. Topics include the origins of Islam in late Antiquity; the development of Islamic religious, political, and cultural institutions; the flourishing of medieval Islamic education, science, and literature; the tension among state, ethnic, sectarian, and global Muslim identities; and the emergence of a distinctly Muslim approach to historiography.
Students in the course combined the traditional tools of historical inquiry with computational tools to explore, picture and develop new insights into the political, social, and cultural history of the transmission of early Islamic law. Practically, this meant students undertook close readings of primary sources and critical review of secondary literature while also mining data, creating a database, and using on-line visualization software. Joel Blecher, Fall 2014
Ezra Pound exerted a monumental influence on the development of modernism through small literary journals, “little magazines”, that existed to promote appreciation of literature and the arts. Pound was the consummate networker, a skill he used to advance the careers of others more than his own. Scholarship on Pound as a literary impresario focuses on his involvement with early 20th century publications such as The English Review, The Little Review, Poetry and others. Likewise, Pound’s influence on the careers of James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and William Butler Yeats are well documented. The incredible extent of Pound’s literary network has never been fully mapped. Likewise, all fiction and poetry produced today is sustained through a connection of writers, editors, and publishing outlets.
A framework for this initiative is the evolving nature of literary journals, especially the type known as “little magazines” that function as the places where most poetry and short stories are first published. Our starting point in this project is Shenandoah, a literary journal published since 1950 by Washington and Lee University (W&L).
Methodology: archives, data visualization, and linked data