Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Christians, Jews and Muslims in Spain: Culture, Conflict and Coexistence
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Eligibility for entry to Level 3

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 1-hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 1-hour seminars
Workload Breakdown Lecture and seminar attendance - 20 hours; lecture and seminar preparation (research and reading) - 100 hours; essay research and preparation - 45 hours; text commentary research and preparation - 35


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment: 1 x 1,500-word text or source commentary.  10%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment: seminar performance.  10%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment: 1 x 2,500-word essay.  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination (2 essay questions, equally weighted).  60%
Supplementary Exam 2/3 Hours   1 x 2-hour examination if continuous assessment submitted. 1 x 3-hour examination if no continuous assessment submitted.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Enter historiographical debates concerning the study of the interactions between Christians, Jews and Muslims in medieval Spain;
2. Understand the historical background to current ideas about Spain's medieval and early modern past;
3. Show familiarity with the key methods employed by scholars to study pre-modern societies;
4. Be acquainted with a variety of historical primary sources and literary sources and have developed their interpretative skills accordingly;
5. Engage critically with a variety of scholarly material including monographs and specialised articles.
6. Present their findings in a logical, organised and scholarly fashion both orally - through debates and presentations - and in written form - through essays and text commentaries.


This module provides an overview of the history of the interaction between Christians, Jews and Muslims in medieval and early modern Spain. It will focus both on the study of historical events as well as on cultural products - mostly literature. It will develop students' ability to engage in historiographical debates, issues of translation and interaction between cultures, the use of sources in their original language and the study of interactions between history and culture. The study of this subject also provides a background to understand contemporary debates in Spanish society about pluralism, national identity and the relationship between Church and state.

Brief description

This course studies the phenomenon known as convivencia - coexistence - of Christians, Jews and Muslims in medieval and early modern Spain. The period starts with the Islamic conquest of Spain in 711 and ends with the expulsion of the moriscos in 1609, and it is punctuated by the Reconquista, the establishment of the inquisition in 1480, the conquest of Granada and the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. This course will also consider how these events affected Spanish society long after convivencia had ended in the early modern period.
The course will provide an overview of the events and main historiographical debates in lectures. A series of seminars - based around work on historical and literary sources - will allow students to explore events and debates and the cultural output related to them.


The module is structured around the following main themes:
1. Conquest: the Islamic conquest of Spain, the Islamic polities.
2. Reconquista: the formation of the Christian polities; the wars of reconquest; El Cid as a historical figure and literary hero.
3. Coexistence: daily life and cultural exchange in medieval and early modern Spain; the kharjas.
4. Persecution: the establishment of the Inquisition; the conquest of Granada; the expulsions of the Jews and moriscos; Francisco Delicado, La lozana andaluza.
5. Religious unity: limpieza de sangre - purity of blood - and self-image in the aftermath of the expulsions; Miguel de Cervantes, El retablo de las maravillas.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Evaluation of statistical data in the sources and secondary reading.
Communication Oral communication developed in seminars; written communication developed in assessments and exam.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to assess their own progress week by week through their increased understanding of the issues raised and the skills developed.
Information Technology Use of on-line journals and source collections; delivery of course materials and information via email and e-learning system.
Personal Development and Career planning Acquisition of transferable skills; in-depth acquaintance with history as an academic subject.
Problem solving Selection of reading material; answering questions posed by written assessment; seminar work.
Research skills Preparation of written assessment; preparation for seminars.
Subject Specific Skills Acquisition of pre-modern Spanish vocabulary.
Team work Debates and group presentations in seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 6