Religious Studies | Capstone Seminar: Jihad - The Struggle for Islam
R474 | 3793 | Jaques


This course will explore the origins and development of the concept of religious struggle (Jihad) in Islam. The course will be
divided into four sections: 1) pre-Islamic views on religious war and martyrdom, 2) Qur'anic and early Islamic views on the
development on the Jihad tradition, 3) medieval understandings of Jihad, especially in the context of the Mongol invasions and
European colonialism, and 4) modern articulations of religious struggle, especially in the context of Islamic revivalist movements.
We will read primary sources (in translation) as well as secondary sources which analyze the concept of religious struggle as it
developed over the course of the last 1400 years. As this is an intensive writing class, students will be required to write weekly
reaction papers to each assigned reading, write an essay at the end of each of the first three sections which analyzes one aspect of
that section (5-7 pages), and write a final research paper (15-20 pages) that will draw on previous essays, and contribute an
original analysis on an aspect of religious struggle in Islam.

Requirements: Attendance and class participation is a must. This will be a small class and students will have the opportunity to
engage in detailed and lively discussions and debates. There will be weekly reaction papers to assigned readings, three 5-7 page
essays, and a final 15-20 pager research paper. Reaction papers and essays will be revised several times in accordance with
university regulations for intensive writing courses.

Required Texts: Aukai Collins, My Jihad; Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam; Course Packet