What is Islam?
Division II; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Cross-listed as ARAB234 / GBST234 / REL234 / HIST208
This course introduces students to Islam as a varied and contested historical tradition. The course will trace the historical development of Islam, focusing on religious and intellectual thought, political developments, and the practices and lived lives of Muslims. We will begin with situating the rise of Islam within the context of late antiquity, followed by an examination of the life of Muhammad, and the rise of Muslim empires. These developments will form the framework through which we investigate the theological, philosophical, legal, mystical, and literary writings of Muslims from the classical to the early modern periods of Islamic history. The main aim of the course is to develop a framework for understanding the historical developments through which Muslims have constructed ideas about normativity, authority, and orthodoxy in debates around Islam. Sources will include pre-modern historical and religious texts (in translation).
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: reading responses, two essays, final exam
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Enrollment Preference: Religion majors (or those considering Religion as a major), then Arabic Studies and History majors
Distributions: Division II; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under ARAB. DPE: This course looks role of power, in particular imperial and colonial power in the construction of religion. To that end, the course will explore how the rise of Muslim empires shaped the construction of pre-modern Islam and subsequently the role of European colonialism in shaping the emergence of modern Islam. This course will teach students critical tools in postcolonial theory about the relationship between power and the production of knowledge and the agency of the colonized.
Attributes: HIST Group E Electives - Middle East; HIST Group P Electives - Premodern