This course is an introduction to the art of the Islamic world from the late seventh century to the present, covering a geography that extends from Central and South Asia to North Africa and Spain. Focusing on objects of different materials (e.g., mosaics, textiles, metalwork, painting, sculpture, wood, ivory carvings, illuminated manuscripts, and glassware), we will pay careful attention to material, form, ornament, technique, and function, as well as the local and regional artistic traditions that produced the object and its meaning. We will also analyze art of contemporary media such as photography, video, and installation art. The course is structured chronologically while addressing themes central to the study of Islamic art, including, but not limited to: calligraphy and ornament, figural imagery and aniconism, function and meaning, religious and secular art, portable objects, science and optics, collecting and museum displays, tradition and modernity, and global exchange. Throughout the course we will constantly ask: What is the relationship between art and culture? Aesthetics and practice? What makes an art object “Islamic”? This course incorporates films and field-trips to local collections. No previous background is required. All readings are available in English.