MIDEAST 421 - Islamic Mysticism: Sufism in Time and Space
Fall 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Middle East Studies (MIDEAST)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course examines the rise, formation and subsequent development of Islamic asceticism-mysticism (Sufism). It focuses on Sufism’s practices, doctrines, literature and institutions from the 8th century C.E. up to the present. We will also discuss various approaches to Sufism by Western and Muslim academics as well as criticism of Sufi teachings and practices by some influential pre-modern Muslim theologians. We will pay special attention to the variegated sociopolitical roles that individuals and institutions associated with Sufism have played in pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Muslim societies. As far as the most recent developments are concerned, we will analyze the conflict between the “fundamentalist” (Salafi) and Sufi interpretations of Islam and the important part that it plays in current debates about Islamic “orthodoxy” and the future of Islam in Muslim societies and Muslim diaspora worldwide. Finally, we will explore the impact of Sufi teachings, practices and literary production on Western societies and cultures.

Course Requirements:

  • Class participation, 10%. It will be determined based on attendance and participation in class discussion. Each unexcused absence will result in the loss of 1% of your grade.
  • Each student (or a group) will be asked to give a short oral presentation (20 min. with a question and answer period of up to 10 min.) on a topic discussed in class or one they will choose, 20%.
  • Students will submit two 5-6-page response papers (double-spaced) on a topic or topics covered in the course. Each paper is worth up to 20%; 40% in all. The first paper is a critical summary (review) of an academic or popular book pertinent to the contents of the course. The second is an analytical engagement of a topic on Sufism based on at least three readings (primary or secondary) assigned for this class. The topic of the second paper and that of the class presentation can be the same.
  • A research term paper (between 8 and 12 pages) on a chosen topic (potential topics will be provided), 30%.

    Intended Audience:

    Upper level undergraduates and graduate students with prior knowledge in Islam and its culture

    Class Format:

    Two 90-minute meetings weekly, consisting of instructor's and guest speakers' presentations and discussions of related readings and films


MIDEAST 421 - Islamic Mysticism: Sufism in Time and Space
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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