4.622 / 4.623
Islamic Gardens and Geographies

Permission of instructor
Limited to 15

Undergraduates: Register for 4.622
Graduate: Register for 4.623

This seminar focuses on the historical geography of Islamic gardens from Andalusia to Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on the Indian subcontinent.  The seminar links garden design with larger scale urban processes and cross-cultural debates.  We begin with garden cosmologies and creation stories, spend most of the semester on the historical gardens of this world, and conclude with the Islamic paradise gardens at the end of time.  We explore these topics with evidence from archaeological, art historical, landscape architectural, and cartographic sources – using historical geography as an integrative method.  In each case, we consider the contemporary significance of gardens in heritage conservation and Islamic environmental design.