GBST 210
The Challenge of ISIS Spring 2017
Division II
Cross-listed ARAB 210 / ANTH 210 / REL 240 / HIST 210 / GBST 210
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

What is ISIS and what does it want? Using historical and anthropological sources and perspectives, the course considers the origins, ideology and organization of the Islamic State. Beginning with an examination of early radical movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Afghan mujahidin and Taliban, and al-Qaeda, the course will go on to investigate how ISIS derives important aspects of its ideology and organization from these earlier movements and how it deviates from them. We will look at unique aspects of the movement, such as its use of social media, its extensive destruction of ancient historical sites, its staging of spectacles of violence, and its recruitment of Muslims from Europe and North America. We will also examine the ideological constitution of the movement, including its attitude toward and treatment of non-Muslims, its conceptualization of itself as a modern incarnation of the original Islamic caliphate, the ways in which it justifies its use of violence, and its apocalyptic vision of the present-day as End Time. Finally, we will evaluate current responses to ISIS, in the West and among Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere, in terms of their effectiveness and strategic coherence.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 40
Expected: 40
Class#: 3943
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: blogs (4 main blog posts, responses to at least 3-4 other blogs each week) (30%); analytic paper or class history paper (35%); 2 midterms (35%)
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Distributions: Division II
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under ARAB
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARAB 210 Division II ANTH 210 Division II REL 240 Division II HIST 210 Division II GBST 210 Division II

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