This course will provide students, both specialists and non-specialists in Islamic history, with a basic working knowledge of Islamic imperial history and the spread of Islam. It will also provide students with methodological and theoretical frameworks to study borderlands, borderland populations, and the cultural, social, and religious boundaries that revolve around these contested spaces. Thus, thematically the issues and scholarship discussed in this class can be applicable to students who work on different geographical borderlands not only throughout history but outside the Islamic world as well. Our approach to borders and boundaries will acknowledge a profound diversity within the Islamic world and study specific social groups that lived in these borderlands, such as the fighters of “greater jihad” (mystics, Sufis) who in the early Muslim ribats shared space with the fighters of “lesser” jihad (frontier soldiers), the futuwwa and ahi brotherhoods of pre-Ottoman Anatolia, the gazis and the akritai on the Ottoman-Byzantine border, the vast Muslim and Christian groups whose loyalties the Ottomans competed for with Christian imperial rivals in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Europe, the Crimea, as well as the greater Black Sea and Mediterranean worlds in general – and beyond. This course will focus on select case studies ranging from Spain to Central Asia. Students will be introduced to the historical and anthropological literature on the concept of “frontiers” and “borderlands,” as well as to the concepts of “conversion,” “syncretism,” “hybridity,” “legal pluralism,” and “creolization” crucial to studying inter-confessional, ethnically diverse contact zones. Being a course on borderlands and frontier milieus, this course will naturally compare and contrast Empires – especially the Ottomans with their Islamic predecessors as well as their Byzantine, Safavid/Qajjar, Hapsburg, Russian, British,and French rivals.