REL 237 Fall 2013 Islam, Pluralism, and the Religious Other

In recent years, Islam has become a major topic in the media, in political rhetoric, among intellectual communities, and among ordinary citizens in the Western world. A recurring refrain in these discussions is the question of the position of Islam and Muslims vis-à -vis other religious and secular traditions in a pluralistic world. In this course, we will situate this discourse as the product of a particular set of circumstances and an end result of particular historical and contemporary discourses that have portrayed Islam and Muslims as the West's "Other". It is only when this perception of Islam as the other has been established that we can understand the self-perception of Muslims and the Islamic tradition and it is only when we understand this "self" that we can fruitfully understand how that tradition has perceived its own "others". This course will examine the historical and theological interface between Islamic and other religious traditions and between Muslims and religious others. We will look at: 1) the Qurâ'an, focusing on verses that deal with questions of religious diversity and otherness, and their multiple interpretations; 2) the concept of prophecy and the particular example of Muhammad in relation to religious others; 3) how the different schools of Islamic thought and practice- in scriptural exegesis, jurisprudence, philosophy, theology, and mysticism- have used their specific methodologies to theorize religious difference; 4) how Muslims have theologically situated and culturally interacted with other religious traditions, specifically Christianity, Judaism, Hindu traditions, Buddhism, and the Chinese religions; 5) how new discourses on religious diversity that articulate new modes of hermeneutics in relation to the Qurâ'an and the Islamic tradition are being developed in the contemporary period by Muslim intellectuals and scholars and how they relate to global issues of identity, otherness, and pluralism.
Class Format: lecture
Requirements/Evaluation: active engagement, short weekly assignments, final paper or project
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Religion majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: ARAB Arabic Studies Electives, REL Islamic Tradition Courses
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1994
REL237-01(F) LEC Islam and Pluralism Division 2: Social Studies Fuad S. Naeem
MR 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Schapiro Hall 241 1994
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