Folklore | Islam Among the Folk in the Middle East
F307 | 34849 | H. El-Shamy
Fulfills COLL Arts & Humanities, CSA
This course offers an examination of folk and popular religious and
quasi religious ideologies, practices, and related manifestations in
Middle Eastern Moslem-Arab and related societies.
I. An introduction: Religion as a universal culture
I.1. The Middle East as a culture area. (Birthplace
for the Three Semitic Religions)
The basic characteristics of folk
groups and folkloric materials (Religion).
I.2. Electronic popular religious movements
(the Keyboard/Web clubs)
II. historical backgrounds to contemporary religious
ideologies and worldviews. Religious belief systems in the ancient
Middle East (Nile Valley--Egypt, Mesopotamia, Assyria). The
emergence of monotheism. Modes of expression associated with these
systems. Semitic monotheism: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
III. Islam as a sacred ideology and an inclusive
charter for living. "Five Pillars". The concepts of "jihād," and
martyrdom. Religious faith and the state.
The development of sects and religio political
movements (Sunni, Shiite, Kharijite). The impact of these movements
on art, literature, lore, and worldviews.
IV. Movements of revitalization, reinterpretation
and syncretism, revivalism (fundamentalism). Revitalized Islamic
ideologies and the modern state: from "Caliphate"
to "kingdom"/ "republic". The role of the head of state. The
position of non-Moslems.
V. In depth study of the belief practice systems of
selected groups: cosmology, God, supernatural beings, the soul.
Prophethood and sainthood. Sufi and similar organizations and their
role in contemporary social and political life.
Expressive forms associated with folk and popular
religious ideologies (madīh, zikr, "epic sīrah dealing with Crusades
and other holy wars, the political and the religious ballad, masrah
at-tacziyah (miracle play) etc.
VI. The structure and composition of the belief-
practice spectrum as cognitive-affective system.