BA Philosophy and Religion / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Contemporary Debates in Islam

Unit code MEST30031
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course explores the ways in which the notion of ‘modernity’ has been constructed and debates in relation to what is perceived as ‘tradition’ in Islamic contexts. It begins by examining how new technologies, social structures, and educational systems introduced during the colonial period stimulated the imagination of intellectual elites who were searching for ways to be good and modern Muslims. Exploring case studies from the 19th century to the present day Middle East and Europe, the course discusses textual and discursive strategies of presenting ‘proper Islam’ in contradistinction to that what is labelled as ‘non-Islamic’. The course unit is flexible and multi-disciplinary, drawing upon social and political theory, intellectual and art history, colonial and post-colonial thought, anthropology, and religious studies. Assigned reading and discussions during the lectures and seminars are geared towards examining the place of (particularly Islamic) religious traditions in the modern world.

 

 

Aims

  • To become familiar with the key issues that shape the debates on ‘tradition’ in modern Islam;
  • To critically investigate a wide range of theoretical approaches discussing the formation of ‘tradition’ in relation to ‘modernity’

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

  • Discuss the key issues that shape the debates about ‘tradition’ in modern Islam (19th-21st centuries);
  • Critically investigate a wide range of theoretical approaches discussing the formation of ‘tradition’ in relation to ‘modernity’;
  • Compare and contrast social and historical contexts in which the traditions of Islam have been problematised and debated since 19th century.

Learning outcomes

 

 

Teaching and learning methods

Some of the lectures for this unit will be delivered online.

Knowledge and understanding

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

  • Understand and discuss theoretical issues related to tradition and modernity in Islam
  • Compare and contrast social and historical contexts in which the traditions of Islam have been problematised and debated since 19th century.
     

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.

Practical skills

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

  • Use library and online resources
  • Present ideas in a clear and orderly manner
  • 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

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

Oral Presentation - 30%

Long Essay Project - 70%

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative feedback on class discussion

Oral Presentation: in-class feedback and written comments through feedback form

Formative feedback on Short Essay plan

Formative feedback on Presentation title and Essay Project title and outline

Essays: written comments through feedback form

 

Recommended reading

  • Masud, Muhammad Khalid, Armando Salvatore and Martin van Bruinessen (eds), Islam and Modernity: Key Issues and Debates, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
  • Gilsenan, Michael, Recognizing Islam: Religion and Society in the Modern Middle East, Revised Edition, London: IB Tauris, 2000.
  • Voigt, Kari (ed.) et al., New Directions in Islamic Thought, London: IB Tauris, 2011
  • Hourani, Albert, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798-1939, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967
     

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tom Woerner - Powell Unit coordinator

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