HSCI 3453: Science and Civilization in Islam

Research Essay #1

Write an essay of 1500-2000 words (6-8 pages) on ONE of the following topics. You may use class notes and assigned readings in writing your answer, but you are strongly encouraged to seek additional sources of information. Electronic information sources including the Internet should be supported by checking in standard printed sources. Cutting and pasting from electronic sources is prohibited, except for brief quotations (less than one per page), which should include a complete citation. Your essay should include notes and bibliography in standard format. For additional information see the linked pages.

1. What are 'Eurocentrism' and 'Orientalism'? What problems are they alleged to have created, and what are the best means of avoiding these problems when studying history?

2. What was the status of Christians and Jews during the reigns of the early Abbasid Caliphs?

3. Who were the Seljuks? In your answer describe both the historical orgins and demise of their empire.

4. Who ruled the most important successor states to the Eastern Caliphate in the period 1154-1563?  How were religion and science treated in these states?

5. Why did the early Ottomans refer to themselves as 'Rumi' (Romans)? In your answer examine at least three different combinations of religion and ethnicity that existed in the Empire during its first hundred years.

6. What was the role of women in the early Ottoman Empire, up to 1700?

7. Open question: If there is a topic connected with this part of the course that you would like to write about, but that does not appear in the list above, you may request permission to write on that topic. Send the instructor a title, brief outline or indication of content, and a list of sources, no later than noon, five days before the essay deadline. If you are authorized to write on the topic you proposed, you must follow all the style and length guidelines specified for research essay.

Submit all of the essays above, as a hard copy, in class, on or before the deadline.