BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
History of Modern Islamic Thought

Unit code MEST20501
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This is a course on intellectual history which surveys key issues that Muslim intellectuals from the late 18th to 21 century Middle East and Indian Subcontinent debated with passion. It begins by looking Islamic reformist movements in the late 18th century Middle East, then proceeding to their intellectual heirs in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will look at the writings of prominent reformist thinkers such as Muhammad ‘Abduh (d. 1905), Rashid Rida (d. 1935), Hasan al-Banna (d. 1949), Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966) as well as those who are active in the present day Middle East such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Mohamed Shahrour and will discuss their attempts to navigate the ever-contested currents of Islamic resurgence in contemporary Muslim societies.

Aims

  • This course is intended as a general introduction to modern Islamic thought in which students will gain familiarity with the key issues that were discussed between prominent Muslim thinkers in the 18th to 21st century Middle East and Indian Subcontinent.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Discuss the main ideas of Muslim thinkers in relation to their biographical background;
  • Compare and contrast how key issues in modern Islam were discussed by different thinkers;
  • Examine the writings of Muslim thinkers in relation to the socio-historical contexts in which they were operating.

Syllabus

  1. Modern Islam and European Modernity
  2. The Renaissance of the Islamic Faith
  3. Theories of the Caliphate
  4. Islam as a Total Way of Life
  5.  The Idea of an Islamic State
  6. Resisting Secularism
  7. Women in Modern Islam
  8. Sufism and the Politics of Modernity
  9. Muslim Intellectuals’ Search for Authenticity
  10. Contestations of Religious Authority

Teaching and learning methods

 

  • Lecture
  • Seminar
  • Directed Reading
  • Course work
  • Blackboard E-Learning

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Discuss the main ideas of Muslim thinkers in relation to their biographical background;
  • Compare and contrast how key issues in modern Islam were discussed by different thinkers;
  • Examine the writings of Muslim thinkers in relation to the socio-historical contexts in which they were operating.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Develop analytical capacity to comprehend theoretical materials;
  • Improve the ability to examine primary and secondary sources.
  • Critical and analytical thinking

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Use library and online resources;
  • Write a well-structured and argued essay.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Presentation skills (oral and written)
  • Time management and punctuality
  • Present ideas in a clear and orderly manner;

Employability skills

Other
¿ Critical thinking and analytical skills. ¿ Broad intellectual and cultural interests. ¿ Understanding of historical development and cultural contexts of particular traditions, disciplines or bodies of knowledge.

Assessment methods

 

Assessment task

Length

Weighting within unit

Essays

Exam

2 x 1500 words

2 hours

40% (20% each)

60%

 

 

Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on essays and written exam.

Recommended reading

  • Ayubi, Nazih, Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World, London: Routledge, 1991.
  • Ernst, Carl W., Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.
  • Haj, Samira, Reconfiguring Islamic Tradition: Reform, Rationality, and Modernity, Stanford: Stanford UP, 2009.
  • Hourani, Albert, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798-1939, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
  • Zaman, Muhammad Qasim, Modern Islamic Thought in a Radical Age: Religious Authority and Internal Criticism, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2012.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tom Woerner - Powell Unit coordinator

Return to course details