James E. Lindsay
Office Hours:Monday & Wednesday 1:00-2:30 & by appointment
- Middle East
- PhD, University of Wisconsin
I joined the Department of History at Colorado State University in 1996. My teaching repertoire includes courses on pre-modern and modern Middle East history. My research is focused on the history and historiography of the Islamic Near East in the middle ages.
I am currently preparing with Suleiman A. Mourad (Department of Religious Studies, Smith College) a primary source reader of Arabic-Islamic sources, The Islamic Middle East in the Crusader Period: A Reader, which reflect a variety of views on what unfolded in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. Written in greater Syria, northern Mesopotamia, and Egypt, these sources provide eyewitness and contemporary historical accounts of the period, as well as secondary testimonies on the variety of Muslim responses to and interactions with the Franks. Despite their importance, the Arabic-Islamic sources remain relatively marginal in the way the general history of the Crusader period is written, and where the European sources dominate the narrative. This book is an attempt to bring to light a broad selection of sources—universal and era-specific chronicles, local histories, biographical dictionaries, literary anthologies, folktales, memoirs, personal correspondences, travel narratives, religious and legal treatises, books on the religious merits of a city or sacred site, poetry, monumental inscriptions, coins—that in our assessment introduce the student of Crusader history to a wider and much more complex understanding of the Crusades and the interactions between the Franks and the Muslims, which ranged from animosity to amity.
I am also the director of the Religious Studies Interdisciplinary Minor. The Minor encompasses the major religious traditions of humankind. It enables students to integrate a field of special interest from offerings in religious studies and related areas. Students can study religion as viewed by different disciplines; e.g., philosophy, anthropology, history, liberal arts, music, sociology, and psychology. In addition, the program encourages students to view religious phenomena in their cultural context through the media of music and the arts.
Courses I teach regularly:
HIST 115 The Islamic World: Late Antiquity to 1500
HIST 431 Ancient Israel
HIST 432 Sacred History in the Bible and the Qur'an
HIST 433 Muhammad and the Origins of Islam
HIST 436 The Land of Israel: Past and Present
HIST 438 The Modern Middle East
Courses I teach only occasionally:
HIST 435 Jihad and Reform in Islamic History
HIST 492 Capstone Seminar
HIST 532 Reading Seminar: Middle East
The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period: Ibn ‘Asakir of Damascus (1105–1176) and His Age; with an edition and translation of Ibn ‘Asakir’s The Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad (co-authored with Suleiman A. Mourad). Leiden: Brill, 2013. (Issued in paperback in 2015.)
Historical Dimensions of Islam: Pre-Modern and Modern Periods--Essays in Honor of R. Stephen Humphreys (co-edited with Jon Armajani). Princeton: Darwin Press, 2009.
Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005 (Issued in paperback by Hackett Publishing, 2008; translated and published in Arabic by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, Kalima, 2012.)
Ibn ‘Asakir and Early Islamic History (ed.). Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam, no. 20. Princeton: Darwin Press, 2001.
HIST 115 The Islamic World: Late Antiquity to 1500 (Fall 2020; MW 3:00-4:15; Natural Resources 140)
This course is an introductory survey of religion, society, and culture in the Islamic world from late antiquity to 1500. As such, it meets the AUCC 3D Historical Perspectives Requirement. Major themes addressed in the course include: 1) the development of the early Islamic empire, its origins in seventh-century Arabia, and its rapid conquest of the Near East and much of Mediterranean world by the mid-eighth century; 2) the role of the ideology of jihad in the military history of the pre-modern Islamic empires and states spanning from Spain in the west to India and southeast Asia in the east; and 3) the complex and interconnected multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies in the pre-modern Islamic Near East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.
HIST 432 Sacred History in the Bible and the Qur’an (Fall 2020; MW 5:00-6:15; Clark A-203)
This course examines competing conceptions of sacred history in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. We will examine these issues through a comparative analysis of biblical figures that all three traditions venerate. We will also examine competing conceptions of Jesus and Muhammad in Christianity and Islam. In addition to relevant excerpts from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, New Testament, and Qur’an, students will be expected to analyze classical Jewish, Christian, and Islamic exegesis of these texts, for it is only through this interpretive literature that we can understand the historical development of traditional Jewish, Christian, and Islamic conceptions of sacred history.
HIST 433 Muhammad and the Origins of Islam (Spring 2021)
This course examines the historical context of the emergence of Islam, its origins in seventh-century Arabia, and the rapid Islamic imperial conquests of the Near East and much of the Mediterranean world by the mid-eighth century. We will examine important themes in the formation of the classical Islamic religious, legal, and historiographical traditions. Since the majority of the population resisted conversion to Islam during this period, we will also examine how Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian subjects of the new Islamic empire were able to retain their distinctive religious identities while at the same time accommodating themselves to and interacting with the new Islamic imperial order in areas of politics, society, law, religion, burial practices, warfare, etc.
HIST 436 The Land of Israel: Past & Present (Spring 2021)Syllabus
Some history courses focus on a broad region over decades, even centuries. This course examines the history of a very small and contested region over a span of more than 3,000 years. Issues we will investigate include: the importance of physical geography, material culture, and the Bible for constructing a coherent history of ancient Canaan/Israel; competing conceptions of the Holy Land in the pre-modern Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions; and competing conceptions of the Holy Land in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict (ca. 1900-present).