4-Part Series - From the Rise of an Empire to the Arab Spring: Understanding the Arab and Islamic World (Part 2 - "The Golden Age")
with David Mendelsohn
Please note: This is a Member-only program
Ethnicities are natural, inasmuch as groups seek to demarcate themselves from others, but ethnicities are also malleable since their membership and meaning can change over time. An ethnic identity is accordingly both an intellectual construct and a potent force that shapes how people organise themselves and interact with others. When studying a group of people, it is therefore imperative to investigate how they have perceived themselves across time. In this series, we will study four historic touchstones in the evolution of the Islamic world to better understand what being an Arab meant during the formative centuries of Islam and what it means today.
Thursday February 2, 2023
The Rise of an Empire
How are empires created, rise and then fall? What is the concept of Assabiya and what role does it play in the Islamic empire? What were the specific effects on the Jewish community and other minorities existing within and yet not part of the system? Join us as we explore these questions through the eyes of scholar Ibn Khaldoun, acknowledged to be one of the greatest social scientists of the Middle Ages.
Thursday February 9, 2023
The Golden Age
What was the House of Wisdom in Baghdad? How did a group of scholarly Muslims, Christians and Jews gather and translate all of the known-world’s knowledge of philosophy and science into Arabic? In this session we’ll look at Islam as a new religion, the value it placed on philosophy and science, and the key role Islam as a culture played in the philosophy and religious approach of the Rambam.
Thursday February 16, 2023
As the proud heritage of the Arab world crumbled in face of the rising technology and capitalism of the West, Arab leadership espoused a variety of failed ideologies until the rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser and his embrace of Pan-Arabism. Nasser’s dream formed a new-old vision of the Arab world. How was this dream connected to Israel, and how was it used to rally the Arab world? How did Islam re-shape itself to fill the vacuum created after the Six Day War? In this session we’ll also explore the differences between Pan Arabism and Pan Islamism and what created the need for both ideologies.
Thursday February 23, 2023
Into the Modern Map and the Contemporary Arab Spring
In this session we’ll look at the formation of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq vis a vis what we’ve learned over the past sessions in our series. How do the concepts and systems we explored resonate in each of these countries? Returhing to the concept of Asabiyya and introducing the concept of Hamula (Chamula), we will explore how the contemporary Arab spring movemet re-introuced the drive to unify the Arab world, favoring a unity of the young over tribalism. What role did social media play in this uprising? how does this modern uprising compare to parallel movements in the western world? "
Sponsor: Orange County Community Scholar Program (CSP)