NEW COURSE - MESA 3559-002: Introduction to the Life and Career of Muhammad

NEW COURSE - SAST 2559: Art and Culture of Islam in South Asia

The course surveys Islamic art, architecture, and literature in the Indian subcontinent from the 12th century to the 19th century. The goal is to enhance our understanding of how Muslim artistic expression developed and adapted itself within a distinctly South Asian context by studying major monuments, literary classics, and masterpieces of miniature painting. The survey includes Sulatanate Period Sufi romances, the Taj Mahal, and the allegorical paintings made for the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.

NEW COURSE - MEST 3559: Between Europe and the Middle East: Identity, Migration, and the Current Refugee Crisis

In what ways is the current refugee crisis a radical event, and to what extent does it reshape both Europe and the Middle East? How do previously-formed notions of religion, migration, and integration affect the willingness of European citizens to accept refugees from the Middle East, and what stands at the basis of such notions? Then again, what does the refugee crisis tell us about the successes and failures of the European Union, how does it challenge the idea of a Europe without Frontiers, and in what ways might if affect the interplay between Europe's united and national identities?

NEW COURSE - ARTH 2961: Arts of the Islamic World

This course introduces students to the vitality and diversity of Islamic art and architecture, with a careful examination of how the faith of Islam and its interpretations shape the material as well as the spiritual world. We will explore iconoclasm, calligraphy, funerary practices and monuments, courtly culture, Mediterranean and Oceanic trade, and the urge to ornament, among other major themes.

Student's Art Preserves History, Highlights Tolerance in South Asia, Middle East

Click here to read the UVA Today Article on Murad Mumtaz, an art history grad student who is one of a handful of artits worldwide who still practices the art of Indian miniature painting.

And be sure to sign up for his class, SAST 2559: Art and Culture of Islam in South Asia, being offered Spring 2016.


NEW COURSE - ARTR 3559: Arabic Literary Delights: Humor, Food, and Erotology

This course ventures into the fascinating words and worlds of premodern Arab-Islamic leisure and pleasure. We will focus specifically on the literary representation of and socio-cultural/theosophical debate on humor, pleasantry, wit, frivolity, eating, feasting, banquets crashing, dietetics, erotology, aphrodisiacs, sexual education and hygiene. This course is offered in English and all studied texts will be read in English translations.

Instructor: Nizar F. Hermes

M/W 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM

312 Bryan Hall

Shea House Availability

There are only two spaces left at Shea House! One male (Chinese roommate) and one female (Arabic roommate). If interested in applying for residency, click here to fill out the application form and email it to Tomoko Marshall at

ARTR 3490/5490: Arab Cinemas

This course will concentrate on cinemas of Egypt, the Maghrib (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) as well as Syrian and Palestinian films. It will examine major moments in the history of these cinemas and the political developments that have inevitably had a major influence on filmmaking in the region.

NEW COURSE - ARAB 3559: Arabic Calligraphy

This course is an introduction to the art of Arabic calligraphy as one of the fields of Arabic language cultural production. The readings, workshops, and discussions will be directed towards exploring not only Arabic calligraphy as an art, but as an extension to all related works of art and design in Islamic architecture.

Workshops and training will help students to improve their skills in methods of writing (Arabic scripts) and to give them more understanding about the formations of Arabic letters. Emphasis in class discussions and readings will be placed on the development of this art during specific periods of Islamic history, what issues were behind the needs for clear and legible formations of Arabic script, as well as the ruling system and its role as a factor in Arabic calligraphy development.

Additionally, the course will cover some introductory information about Islamic ornamentation as another related field to calligraphy. No prior knowledge of Arabic is necessary.

NEW COURSE - SAST 2559: Introduction to the Literature, Culture, and Arts of the Indian Subcontinent

Have you ever wondered what karma means? Have you seen the Taj Mahal? Do you know what a raga is?  Have you eaten a samosa? Would you like to learn about the exquisite miniatures painted with a brush made out of a single hair of a squirrel’s tail? If you want to know the answers to these questions, this is the course for you.


By the end of the semester you will acquire an overview of the culture and complexity of the Indian civilization as evident in the classical literature, folk tales, devotional poetry, art, architecture, music and some popular culture.


You will be able to speak and write about South Asia with enthusiasm. You would want to visit and experience the culture for yourself. If you want to major in South Asian Studies or Global Studies, this is an important course.


Course work will consist of short papers, quizzes and a final paper.