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HUM 327 Convivencia: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Arts in Medieval Spain

This course explores the time period in medieval Spain when the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) coexisted somewhat peacefully and created together a rich, vibrant culture from 700-1492. "Convivencia" means "living together." We will examine the poetry, architecture, art, music, governance, and religious practices during this period: how a culture flourished, and how it fell apart. We'll also study how persecutions (including those against pagans), and the diasporas of Jews and Muslims out of Spain influenced these texts, structures, and practices.


2-4 Undergraduate credits

Effective January 14, 2013 to August 14, 2023

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Students can verbally and in writing demonstrate and apply key concepts and facts about the Iberian Middle Ages as seen through literature, architecture, music, social and religious practices, and art.
  • Students demonstrate through discussion and writing understanding of how medieval culture in Iberia functioned with respect to significant cultural, social, religious, and linguistic differences.
  • Students develop the ability to apply a cross-cultural perspective to how social, economic, religious, and political differences interplayed during the wars of Reconquista and state-ordained diasporas in medieval Iberia, as evidenced in architectural change/damage, poetry and legal documents, public rituals, and state- and religion-generated art.
  • Students can explain the growing interdependence between diverse cultural, economic, linguistic, and religious factions in medieval Iberia as it progressed from the Roman occupation to the Renaissance.
  • Students can articulate the complex relationship between medieval Iberia and its allies and enemies in Christendom, the Levant, Arabia/Syria, and North Africa as it changed from 700-1500.
  • Student can explain and analyze key ideas and influential events of the Convivencia period's literature, architecture, and art in an academic essay format.
  • Student can answer questions through quiz instruments that measure your understanding and application of the course's presented facts and concepts, especially regarding how religious identities influenced and changed in their artistic and social expressions during this period.
  • Students will gain a better understanding of how the three Abrahamic faiths have coexisted and failed to coexist in a time before our own. As well, students will become familiar with basic commonalities and differences between the faiths which either facilitated coexistence or fomented tensions, as seen in the architectural, artistic, and literary record.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Goal 8: Global Perspective

  • Describe and analyze political, economic, and cultural elements which influence relations of states and societies in their historical and contemporary dimensions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of cultural, social, religious and linguistic differences.
  • Analyze specific international problems, illustrating the cultural, economic, and political differences that affect their solution.
  • Understand the role of a world citizen and the responsibility world citizens share for their common global future.