Thursday, February 18, 2016

Reflection 2: Guest Lecture by Dr. Deveny

I found Dr. Deveny’s lecture to be very interesting and enlightening about the period of time when Spain was under Islamic control. This is a period of time that was not really covered in other history classes I have taken before college so it was very interesting to learn about what happened during that time and that there was such a period of advancement during the Dark Ages of Europe.  I found it slightly ironic that the most important and enlightened city in the world at the time- Cordova-was on the other side of a mountain range from the rest of Europe and its era of extreme ignorance and regression in terms of science, art and architecture.

I did not realize how many Islamic contributions to Spain and Spanish culture that can still be seen today which I found to be very intriguing. For example, I had no idea that Arabic had such a large influence on the Spanish language. I also thought it was interesting how the song he played for us during the lecture had code switching in it from Spanish to Arabic, showing that the Spanish people and the Muslims once lived and got along well together. There were also contributions of architecture, such as Giraldat and Alhambra with the Generalife which are still able to be seen today.  
Unfortunately, even with all the advancements in art, science, math and architecture as well as the many new crops and agricultural improvements that the Muslims brought with them and the relative peace that was experienced under their rule, the Christians in the north violated the peace treaty both parties held and kicked the Muslims out.  I can slightly see what the monarchy of the time was trying to accomplish by causing the Muslims and the Jewish people to convert or leave, however they did end up “shooting themselves in the foot” as Dr. Deveny said in reference to one third of the population of Valencia leaving.

Overall, I found the lecture to be very informative about the time of Islamic rule in Spain or Al-Andalus and I enjoyed it a lot.

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