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New MOOC: The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World

Did you know that Arabic was for centuries the lingua franca in an area stretching from the south of Spain to the Chinese border? And that the Middle East under Muslim rule was the world’s beating heart of trade, but also of science and scholarship? Want to learn more? Then sign up for the new MOOC on the cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic world!

The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World

In this online course we will focus on the fascinating history of the Medieval Arabic world. We will take you on a journey through the Middle Ages starting off in eighth-century Baghdad. Along the old pilgrim trails we will go to places like Mecca, Jerusalem and Najaf. We will visit the Abbasid court, the Harem of the caliph, and the palace of the Mamluk Sultan.

We will show you some beautiful medieval manuscripts that live on as the silent witnesses of the impressive achievements of scientists and medical doctors of this forgotten era. European scholarship in the Renaissance leaned heavily on the texts and inventions from the Middle East, which were the outcome of this sophisticated advanced society.

All along we will present you with historiographical debates and dilemma’s, reflecting on the way we look at and interpret history. And while taking you on this journey, we will travel back and forth in time explaining to you how events of the past affected and shaped the world as we know it today. Join us for the MOOC on The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World!

Practical information

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)  The Cosmopolitan Medieval  Arabic World consists of six modules. In each module you will be introduced to a variety of concepts through video lectures, podcasts, readings, and quizzes.


The course is open to everyone. Because it offers a combination of introductory information and deep dives into content, it will be interesting both for people with very limited knowledge of this period as well as for those who have already read or learned a lot about the Medieval Arabic world.


The MOOC is taught by Petra Sijpesteijn and she is joined by many guest speakers.


The MOOC is offered through the online platform Coursera.


The course will start on Monday 3 of December 2018 and be repeated every six weeks. You can join at any moment.


Participation is free and there are no entry requirements. Sign up here.

Further information

For further information on joining the course go to the Coursera websiteFor more information concerning the course in general you can contact Birte Kristiansen.

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