Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | Seminar on Islam and Politics in Central Asia and the Middle East
N695 | 26044 | Shahrani

This seminar critically examines, from anthropological perspectives,
relationships between the development of political institutions and
articulations or manifestations of political ideals in Muslim
societies in general and those of Central Asia and the Middle East
in particular. We will pay close attention to the paradigmatic and
historical significance of the formative period of Muslim politics
(i.e, the era of the Prophet's rule in Medina and those of his
Righteous Khalifs or Khulafa-i Rashidun), and focus on the
continuities of styles and strategies of Muslim political discourse
(e.g. adaptationism, conservatism, Mahdism, Islamist modernism to
Islamist radicalism) in changing historical contexts. In particular,
we will discuss 19th and 20th century Muslim responses to encounters
with European colonialism, contemporary experiences of "nation-
state" building programs in the Muslim Middle East, and prospects
for the new post-Soviet Muslim states of Central Asia since 9-11-01
and the so called War on Global Terrorism, in the Middle East and

The first part of the seminar will consist of readings and
discussions of essential background materials, and will include
critical evaluations of a number of case studies on Central Asia and
the Middle East. The second part will involve discussion of student
project presentations.