DS: Coexistence in Medieval Spain: Jews, Christians, and Muslims (enrolling now)


Enrolling in late fall 2017

Course Designers and Professors

Dr. Roger L. Martínez-Dávila,
Associate Professor of History, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs


This course explores Jewish, Christian, and Muslim intercultural relations in Iberia from the Visigothic era (6th century CE) until the creation of Queen Isabel I and King Ferdinand II Catholic Spain (late 15th century). We evaluate the many identities of the peninsula known as Christian Hispania, Jewish Sefarad, and Islamic al-Andalus. We trace the origins and trajectory of conflict between these communities (the Muslim conquest of Spain, Christian Reconquista, prohibitions blocking intermixing of peoples, and expulsions). We aim to understand conflicts within communities as well, such as the tensions between Christian Arian Visigoths and native Catholic Iberians or the fundamentalist North African Almohad Dynasty that rejected the Spanish Umayyad Caliphate’s preference for religious tolerance. We delve into an appreciation of collaboration and coexistence among these communities. We explore the unique role of the Jewish community who Muslims and Christians depended upon as political and cultural intermediaries as well as the intellectual collaborators. We find the history of how peoples attempted to create and manage viable diverse communities.

Course Learning Objectives

• Demonstrate broad knowledge of the Spanish Middle Ages in relationship to Christian Europe and the Muslim Mediterranean world.

• Interpret the interaction of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the medieval Christian cities of Burgos, Toledo, Plasencia, and Granada.

• Critique how historians create research questions to reveal the past using fragmentary primary sources (original manuscripts).

• Appraise manuscripts, museum objects, artifacts, and architecture for cultural and historical meaning.

• Employ research skills that focus on locating, evaluating, and using primary and secondary sources.

Register for updates for this course.