ISLAM 243 - The Dawn of Islamic History
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Islamic Studies (ISLAM)
Department: LSA II: Islamic Studies Prog
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course offers neither a conspectus of Muslim religious beliefs and practices nor a comprehensive survey of the political expansion of Islamic states. Rather, by examining the role of Islam in world history through the five themes outlined below, it moves away from viewing Islam as a monolithic, timeless entity and instead explores its diverse pathways without privileging any single narrative or viewpoint. Ultimately, the course asks how useful the category of “Islam” is to understanding the global past. This course examines the history of Islam in its global dimensions and contexts through five key themes:

  1. Islam as Religion, the origins and emergence of Islam as a universalist faith, its main texts, tenets, and practices, and its trajectories in encounters with other belief systems
  2. Islam as Polity, the unparalleled expansion of Islam under the Caliphate and a survey of the subsequent political history of Muslim states and societies outside of Arabia
  3. Islam as Cosmopolis, the attraction Islam held to adherents of other faiths as a cultural idiom, the notion of “Islamicate” culture, and the role of Islam in the formation of non-hegemonic networks such as pilgrimage and trade
  4. Islam as Ideology, the evolution of the idea of a global community of believers (the umma), the role of religious elites (the ulama) therein, and the development of the concept of holy warfare (jihad)
  5. Islam and Modernity, Muslim societies’ encounters with the forces of imperialism and nationalism, the shaping of traditionalist and reformist movements, and the global diffusion of Muslim diasporas.

Crs Requirements: Final grade determined by:

  • 10% for attendance and participation
  • 20% for a portfolio of weekly response papers (3,000 words in total)
  • 40% for two essays of 2,000 words each
  • 30% for a final in-class exam.

Intended Audience: First- and second-year undergraduate students with an interest in history, religious studies, and/or international affairs.

Class Format: 3 hours of lecture plus 1 hour of discussion per week led by a GSI.

ISLAM 243 - The Dawn of Islamic History
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
Tu 1:00PM - 4:00PM
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