Indiana University Bloomington
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Transnational Islam:  Muslim Communities in the West
Catalog Number CEUS-U 320/520
Cigdem Balim

This is an interdisciplinary survey course, which will look at the political, social, and cultural aspects of the contemporary Muslim communities in the West, and their interaction with other Muslim communities and cultures in Europe and in the USA.
 
Context:
Currently there are around 10 million Muslims in the three leading countries of the EU: over 3 million in Germany (mostly Turkish), 5 million in France (mostly Algerian), and over 1.5 million in Britain (mostly Southern Asian). Their presence and increasing assertiveness in a Christian majority Western Europe gained topical importance after 9/11, but special urgency after Turkey’s struggle to join the EU in a decade’s time.
 
In the USA, there is an increasing number of communities, who are determined to assert their identity as Muslims. The number of studies and publications on the topic are growing, and there is an accumulation of data on various aspects of the Muslim communities in Europe and in the USA.
 
The present course will introduce the students to the study of these communities from diverse backgrounds, from Africa to Turkey to Central Asia to China. It is hoped that the course will create enough curiosity and therefore enable the students to take further specialized courses and carry out research on this important topic.
 
Aim:
The aims of the course are:
(a) to acquaint the students with the factual details of the history, contemporary distribution, economic, social and cultural status of the Muslims, and their organizations in the West.
(b) to introduce the students to concepts such as ‘transnational communities’, ‘hybridity’ and identity (within the context of post-colonial approaches); contact linguistics (language loss/ attrition/ change/ acquisition); bilingual education; as they relate to these communities; and
(c) to introduce the students to research on contemporary Muslim communities in the West.

 
Contents:
The course will use Germany, France, Britain and the USA as main case studies throughout but will include data from other West European countries where especially relevant.
 
General topics that the course will cover include, but not exclusively, the following:
 
Brief historical background on Europe’s troubled, but changing relations (both religious/theological and political-cultural) with Muslim Middle East and Islam before the 20th century
 
20th century migrations to Western Europe and to the USA by Muslim communities (reasons, facts, and numbers); brief history
 
Access to social, political, economic, and cultural rights
 
Perceptions on discrimination and racism. The Muslim as the ‘other’.
 
Muslims as Diaspora and as Transnational Communities
 
Self expression: language change; works of literature and art by Muslims in the West
 
Social networks and organizations
 
A Muslim state in the EU? The case of Turkey
 
 
Learning and Teaching Methods:
Undergraduates:  Combination of lecture and discussion-led Seminar. Seminars will be conducted in Problem Based Learning format (research question given the week before and written assignments every week about 1-2 pages).
 
Graduates:  Combination of lecture and discussion-led Seminar. Seminars will be conducted in Problem Based Learning format (research question given the week before and written assignments every week about 1-2 pages).
  
Assessment: 
Undergraduates: 
Weekly written Assignment (1-2 pages) and contribution to discussions:             10%
One oral presentation with bibliography and written outline:                                10%
One 5,000-word essay:                                                                                      80 %

Graduates:

Weekly written Assignment completion and contribution to discussions:                        10%
2 x oral presentations with bibliography and outline:                                                      20%
2x  3,500-word essays:                                                                                               70%