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The Rise of Islam with Dr. Emily Gottreich

The Rise of Islam with Dr. Emily Gottreich


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

There are close to a billion Muslims in the world today. In Africa, the majority of people living between the Mediterranean and the equator are Muslim; in the United States, Islam is the fastest-growing religion. 

As significant as Islam is to our contemporary world, it has in fact never stopped being relevant, not only for geopolitical reasons but also for its tremendous intellectual and cultural contributions to world history. In this course, led by a Harvard-trained historian of the Middle East and North Africa, we will trace the rise and spread of Islam during its formative period. What ideas did Muhammad transmit that were so compelling as to convince nearly half the world of their validity? 

Starting in seventh-century Arabia, we will study Muhammad’s life and prophecy, see how Islam relates to earlier monotheistic religions like Judaism and Christianity, and observe the flowering of Islamic civilizations in the caliphates of Damascus, Baghdad, and Cordoba. 

Participants in this seminar will come away with a nuanced and detailed understanding of Islam as it developed during its first few centuries. 

Emily Gottreich is an expert in Moroccan Jewish history and Muslim-Jewish relations in the Arab-Islamic world more broadly. She is the author of The Mellah of Marrakech: Jewish and Muslim Space in Morocco's Red City, published in French translation by the University of Mohammed V Press in Rabat in 2016, and co-editor with Daniel Schroeter of Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa (Indiana University Press: 2011). Her most recent book is Jewish Morocco: A History from Pre-Islamic Times to the Present. She currently serves as Adjunct Professor in Global Studies and the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley, where from 2014-2020 she also served as the Chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Prof. Gottreich received her BA in Middle Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley, and her MA and PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History from Harvard University. She is a three-time Fulbright awardee, a past president of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, and a winner of the Phi Beta Kappa award for Excellence in Teaching.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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Larry Levine (Carmel-by-the-Sea, US)
Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic!

This presentation was excellent, very knowledgeable and presented with enthusiasm. Lots of information in a short period of time. I do think, though, that Dr. Gottreich gave somewhat inadequate attention to the reasons for the tremendous geographical spread of Islam following the death of Mohammed, over the next 100 years or more. How and why could a small, new, person-focused religion in Mecca spread so rapidly through Asia, North Africa, even Southern Europe over about 100 years. That is the real "Rise of Islam", no?

D
Dori (St. Catharines, CA)
Well done!

Excellent presentation. The presenter is obviously very knowledgeable, and she filled in some gaps for me. My only quibble is that she presented some things from a very pro-Arab viewpoint, different from what I’ve been told. All in all, though, a very worthwhile presentation. Highly recommend!

C
Carl Ballard (Pittsburgh, US)
Learned a lot.

Wow. Emily provided a lot of insight into the Muslim world and I learned a lot. The Q&A was also excellent.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
L
Larry Levine (Carmel-by-the-Sea, US)
Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic!

This presentation was excellent, very knowledgeable and presented with enthusiasm. Lots of information in a short period of time. I do think, though, that Dr. Gottreich gave somewhat inadequate attention to the reasons for the tremendous geographical spread of Islam following the death of Mohammed, over the next 100 years or more. How and why could a small, new, person-focused religion in Mecca spread so rapidly through Asia, North Africa, even Southern Europe over about 100 years. That is the real "Rise of Islam", no?

D
Dori (St. Catharines, CA)
Well done!

Excellent presentation. The presenter is obviously very knowledgeable, and she filled in some gaps for me. My only quibble is that she presented some things from a very pro-Arab viewpoint, different from what I’ve been told. All in all, though, a very worthwhile presentation. Highly recommend!

C
Carl Ballard (Pittsburgh, US)
Learned a lot.

Wow. Emily provided a lot of insight into the Muslim world and I learned a lot. The Q&A was also excellent.