This course is designed to prepare students to effectively engage with Islam, members of the Muslim community, and the Muslim world broadly speaking. The first portion of the course provides students with a broad, historical survey of Islam, including its origins, central institutions, and its religious, social, legal, and political approaches. In exploring Islam’s journey outside the Arabian Peninsula, the first part of the course will prioritize its focus on Islam’s complex ethnic and cultural diversity. This portion of the course will culminate with exploring Islam’s venture into US soil and consequently the effect of this on the American political and public sphere.
The second portion of the course involves introducing students to the various political theories of governance in Islam and exploring how Islam as a faith tradition becomes political when seeking to address key policy issues confronting state and society. Major themes for this section include the questions surrounding the separation of church and state in Islam, political Islam, and what exactly is an “Islamic state”. Students will be required to post responses to readings.
The final portion of this course will be devoted to social and legal challenges to changes in Muslim societies. Students will gain knowledge of what constitutes success and failure in working for democratic reform and change in Muslim-majority contexts. Students will complete a final paper of their own design where they propose a solution to a particular policy challenge as it relates to addressing a social, legal, global, or political issue for a majority Muslim population context. This course uses a combination of traditional lectures, video content, in-class discussion of case studies, assignments, and topics debates.
Also offered by the Divinity School as HDS 3059.