The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World




Leiden University




Free (certificate fee: USD$ 29, optional)

Available in

English, French, Portuguese, German, Russian, Spanish


This course discusses diversity of the Arabic Medieval World, in terms of culture, scholarship, economy, geography, religion, and more. It is offered by the University of Leiden through Coursera, an online education platform.

The course begins with a discussion on the defining characteristics of an Islamic city in terms of its architectural design, legislation and city life. Through the course, participants will get to learn more about the role of religion in everyday lives of diverse ethnicities. It provides detailed information on the rituals and values shared by Muslim and non-Muslim communities. The course also describes travels undertaken for religious, commercial and intellectual reasons such as pilgrimages and caravans of merchants. Finally, it reflects on how this period contributed to the world as we know it today.

 Some of the course contents are:

  • Effects of trade on Islamic society
  • Tension and the interaction between politics and religion
  • Concept of Orientalism