Coexistence in Medieval Spain: Jews, Christians, and Muslims

University of Colorado System

This course explores Jewish, Christian, and Muslim intercultural relations in Iberia from the Visigothic era (6th century CE) until the creation of Queen Isabel I and King Ferdinand II Catholic Spain (late 15th century). We evaluate the many identities of the peninsula known as Christian Hispania, Jewish Sefarad, and Islamic al-Andalus. We trace the origins and trajectory of conflict between these communities (the Muslim conquest of Spain, Christian Reconquista, prohibitions blocking intermixing of peoples, and expulsions). We aim to understand conflicts within communities as well, such as the tensions between Christian Arian Visigoths and native Catholic Iberians or the fundamentalist North African Almohad Dynasty that rejected the Spanish Umayyad Caliphate’s preference for religious tolerance. We delve into an appreciation of collaboration and coexistence among these communities. We explore the unique role of the Jewish community who Muslims and Christians depended upon as political and cultural intermediaries as well as their intellectual collaborators. We find the history of how peoples attempted to create and manage viable diverse communities. As we study this history, the Honors Track will employ an investigative process (“The Historian’s Craft”) that involves viewing, reading, analyzing, and reflecting on events, peoples, places, and artifacts.

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Coexistence in Medieval Spain: Jews, Christians, and Muslims
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