Learn more about the New New Canaan Library - www.newcanaannewlibrary.org

Loading Events

« All Events

NCLearns: Coexistence in Medieval Spain

April 30, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm


Since the physical library building is closed and ‘normal life’ has been put on hold, now is the perfect time to introduce a program the Library has been developing for months– NCLearns. NCLearns is a rich, self-guided and collaborative online learning experience where two New Canaan Library staff facilitators will lead a group of community members through a MOOC, or massive open online course, on Coursera. MOOCs are created by distinguished professors from all over and offer familiar course materials like lectures and readings, innovative video and musical features, plus interactive exercises with a global reach. 

This course has both asynchronous and synchronous learning components. NCLearns facilitators will help get you set up on Coursera and Zoom to do weekly learning on your own, and offer safe, weekly contact with neighbors we need and crave right now–all virtually. Students will meet once a week via Zoom for discussions and interactive exercises to enhance the digital learning experience.

Class Dates

Please make yourself available to attend all class sessions listed below before signing up as a student.

**Registration is full** 

Material to be covered before date listed Thursday Class Sessions @ 11:00 AM
Orientation – nothing to complete prior to class, students will learn how to use Coursera & Zoom during class April 16 
Week 1 required core on Coursera April 23
Week 2 required core on Coursera April 30
Week 3 required core on Coursera May 7
Week 4 required core on Coursera May 14

Course Description: Coexistence in Medieval Spain: Jews, Christians, and Muslims

Over the course of five weeks, we will complete the course, Coexistence in Medieval Spain: Jews, Christians and Muslims, taught by Dr. Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila, University of Colorado Professor. Week 1 will involve a general introduction on how to create a Coursera account, enroll in the course, participate in a Zoom video call, and collaborate with others in a respectful manner. 

What is the true meaning of coexistence, or convivencia? This course delves into that question by exploring Jewish, Christian, and Muslim intercultural relations in Iberia from the Visigothic era (6th century CE) until Catholic Spain under Queen Isabel I and King Ferdinand II (late 15th century CE). We evaluate the many identities of the peninsula known as Christian Hispania, Jewish Sefarad, and Islamic al-Andalus, and trace the origins and trajectory of conflict between these communities.

Through videos, readings, and virtual field trips, the course examines the Muslim conquest of Spain, Christian Reconquista, and the unique role of the Jewish community upon whom Muslims and Christians depended as political and cultural intermediaries and intellectual collaborators. We learn also about the dark side of coexistence, from prohibitions blocking intermixing of peoples and limiting rank and employment to persecution and expulsions. Significant conflicts existed within communities as well, such as the tensions between Christian Arian Visigoths and native Catholic Iberians, or the fundamentalist North African Almohad Dynasty that rejected the Spanish Umayyad Caliphate’s preference for religious tolerance. This is the history of the ongoing attempt to create and manage viable, diverse communities by the peoples of medieval Spain, for better or worse.

This course lasts five weeks and requires no prior knowledge of the subject or learning method. If this is your first time learning online, don’t worry: our library staff will help you get set up and guide you through the learning process! The weekly time commitment for coursework depends on your level of interest; assignments are defined as “required core,” “suggested,” or “supplemental.” Completing only the “required core” coursework takes upwards of 2.5 hours/week, though casual learners may spend 1.5 hours/week while others may devote much more.


April 30, 2020
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Event Categories:
, ,