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OWU Connection Programs
Project Title: Dissecting The Ring of the Dove
Mentor: Mark Gingerich
This past semester I studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, and while I was there I was able to visit the incredibly vibrant city of Cordoba. Cordoba was a great center of political power and cultural exchange under medieval Muslim rule. This semester I continued exploring both the history of Cordoba and this period of Spanish history in a directed reading. For this student symposium, I will dissect an excerpt from The Ring of the Dove, an 11th century treatise on love written by the Muslim poet and philosopher Ibn Hazm, who was born and raised in Cordoba. Upon first reading the excerpt seems to be merely an anecdote about Ibn Hazm’s personal experience with unrequited love. However, when scrutinized with intent, this short text is revealed as an incredibly multi-faceted source of knowledge about 11th century Spanish society. This process of dissection is essential for the serious study of both literature and history, and the ability to creatively use knowledge from multiple disciplines is the great strength of a liberal arts education.
Ibn Hazm’s anecdote is both an example of the use of geographical space (the city of Cordoba) to create identity, as well as a reaction to the political changes brought about by a civil war. It not only reflects various attitudes towards women of the period, but also exhibits the literary characteristics of works produced within a patriarchal power structure in its “othering” and “mythologizing” of women. Additionally, it demonstrates the ways in which Muslim Spain’s literary topoi both mirrored and diverged from those of northern Europe. My poster will map these different readings of the text so that the resulting groups of knowledge can produce a more three-dimensional model of Ibn Hazm’s world.