Advanced Arabic Reading Seminar: Reading Ibn Khaldun
This course is designed to train students in the close reading of classical Arabic texts. It will be based on selections of one of the central texts of Arabic thought, the fourteenth-century Muqaddima of Ibn Khaldun. This text allows students with intermediary Arabic reading competence to grasp larger arguments despite certain linguistic difficulties of the text. It is written in a style, which some commentators have described as nearly modern Arabic reportage, and as particularly eloquent. But it is also one which does not shy away from using the entire lexical, figurative and other resources of classical Arabic, including the technical vocabularies of the language.
The course will be based on the close reading of some of the Muqaddima’s passages: his critique of historiography, his ideas discussion of the nature of human kind, the development of the Arabic language, and of the genres of Arabic writings.
Texts will be distributed to students taking this course. There will be continuous assessment, based on text preparation.