Religious Studies | Introduction to Islam
R257 | 4144 | Jaques
The class will examine the Islamic Tradition from the perspective of
the History of religions. This means that the class will serve the
dual purpose of examining the external history of Islamic
institutions and society and how Muslims and Islamic scholars have
internally understood their tradition, and the faith, over time. In
doing, so we will attempt to represent the range of attitudes and
ideas that have been current in the tradition from the seventh
century to the present. The course will begin by examining Islam in
the "core areas" of the Islamic World, primarily the Middle East,
North Africa, and Central Asia. However, as we move through the
course we will begin to look at Islam "on the periphery," primarily
in Indonesia (the world's largest Muslim Country) and the United
States. We will particularly focus on those elements in Islamic
history that continue to have importance for how contemporary
Muslims understand their tradition and how they (in all of their
plurality) hope to see Islam develop in the future.
Requirements: Attendance is necessary. There will be two exams and a
comprehensive final. Additionally, there will be short weekly
reaction papers to assigned readings.
Texts: Frederick M. Denny, An Introduction to Islam.
Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History.