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Page from the Quran

Pages from Quran Verse 79 (photo courtesy Walters Art Museum)

About the Program

The Islamic and Mediterranean Studies (IslaMed) program was established during the 2013-2014 academic year. This unique program was made possible through URI’s Cluster Hire Initiative, which brought in four “clusters” of leading faculty from around the globe to advance inter- and multi-disciplinary teaching, learning, and research focused on emerging and relevant societal issues that transcend traditional borders among disciplines. The three focus areas of the IslaMed cluster faculty are:

  • Islamic Religion and Politics
  • Arabic Language and Culture
  • Islamic History and Culture

While IslaMed does not yet have a formal minor program, URI students can develop their own minor under the guidance of a qualified faculty member. So until a formal minor is approved, we’ve put together some suggested courses for students who want to develop a well rounded background in Islamic and Mediterranean Studies.

About The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Sea links three continents, Europe, Africa and Asia, connecting peoples from many different cultures and civilizations. Goods, peoples, and ideas have moved across the Mediterranean, both in times of peace and in times of conflict. The Romans launched armies across the Mediterranean, and at one point controlled most of the lands surrounding it.

Later Islamic and European powers continued to vie for control of lands on all sides of the Mediterranean. Islamic empires, with capitals in Damascus and Baghdad, controlled territories as far away as Spain and Sicily, while European countries had colonies in the Middle East and North Africa until the middle of the twentieth century.

Ideas flowed across the sea as well. Greek philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle and Hippocrates were translated into Arabic, and major Arab thinkers like Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) synthesized those philosophical ideas into their own works. These works, in turn, were adopted by Europeans – for example, Ibn Sina’s enormous encyclopedia of medicine, translated from Arabic into Latin, was a standard medical text in western Europe from the 12th until the 18th century. URI’s Islamic and Mediterranean Studies program explores these connections between the many shores of the Mediterranean.

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