Monday, August 08, 2011

Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East

This syllabus is different from the one I used two years ago mainly because I decided to rotate readings for variety.

HIS 496-001: Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East
208 Dauphin Humanities Center, TR 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Brian J. Ulrich

Office: 201 Dauphin Humanities Center, ex. 1736
Office Hours: TR 2:00-3:30; W 11:00-1:00, also by appointment

Required Texts:

*Muslim Politics, Dale Eickelman and James Piscatori
*Religion and Social Change in Modern Turkey, Serif Mardin
*Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, Albert Hourani
Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah, Baqer Moin
*The Society of the Muslim Brothers, Richard Mitchell
Milestones, Sayyid Qutb
The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia, David Commins
Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, Saba Mahmood

Electronic reserves found on Blackboard
Readings marked with an asterisk are also on reserve in Lehman Library

In this course, we will explore the relationship between Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East. Readings and discussion will cover the impact of modernity on Islamic identities, the emergence of diverse political movements based on interpretations of Islam, and the ways in which modern states sought to derive legitimacy through Islamic symbols. We will pay less attention to specific actions of these movements than to their social and ideological basis, and the ways in which they differ from each other and long-standing interpretations of Islam.

In addition to class participation, evaluation will involve five 2-3 page “short papers” as noted on the syllabus, a quiz over Islamic terms, a 16-page research paper on a topic of your choosing, and a short presentation over that topic. Details of these assignments are forthcoming. Attendance is required, and for each absence over two you will lose 10% of your participation grade. Participation is not limited to attendance. Late assignments will be penalized on the grade for that assignment, as will failure to meet a deadline for the research paper topic or abstract.

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and handled according to Shippensburg procedures. Any text taken from another source in an assignment must be noted with quotation marks and the original source indicated. In the research paper, all information, regardless of whether exact words are used, must be cited via footnotes.

If you feel you may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, you should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs at least 72 hours prior to the activity which requires the accommodation. If you have not already done so, you must contact the Office of Disability Services. This office is responsible for determining reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities on a case-by-case basis, and more generally, for ensuring that members of the community with disabilities have access to Shippensburg’s programs and services. They also assist students in identifying and managing the factors that may interfere with learning and in developing strategies to enhance learning. I cannot approve an accommodation without you registering.


Participation – 25%
Terms quiz – 10%
Short Papers – 25%
Research paper – 30%
Research presentation – 10%

Schedule of Readings and Major Assignments

August 30 – Course Intro
September 1 - Qur’an, Suras 1 and 2; Hourani, pp. 1-24

September 6 – Hourani, pp. 25 -33; Mardin, pp. 1-41; *John Voll, “Foundations for Renewal and Reform,” The Oxford History of Islam, pp. 509-48; Francis Robinson, “Other-Worldly and This-Worldly Islam and the Islamic Revival,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 14 (2004): 47-58.
September 8 –Mardin, pp. 42-102;

September 13 – Mardin, pp. 103-202
September 15 – Mardin, pp. 203-32 (terms quiz)

September 20 – Hourani, pp. 103-60; Eickelman and Piscatori, pp. 3-45; *Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, “Lecture on Teaching and Learning,” An Islamic Response to Imperialism, tr. Nikki R. Keddie, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), pp. 101-8.
September 22 – Hourani, pp. 161-92, 222-44; *Qasim Amin, “The Liberation of Women,” Modern and Fundamentalist Debates in Islam: A Reader, ed. Mansoor Moaddel and Kamran Talattof, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 163-81 (short paper due)

September 27 – Eickelman and Piscatori, pp. 46-164
September 29 – Moin, pp. 1-52; Laurence Louer, Transnational Shia Politics: Religious and Political Networks in the Gulf, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), pp. 69-88.

October 4 – Moin, pp. 53-159; Selection from Khomeini’s writings on-line
October 6 – Moin, pp. 160-222

October 11 – FALL BREAK
October 13 – Moin, pp. 223-313; Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, “Factors Conducive to the Politicization of the Lebanese Shi’a and the Emergence of Hizbullah,” Journal of Islamic Studies 14 (2003): 273-307 (short paper due)

October 18 - Mitchell, pp. 1-34, 209-59
October 20 - Mitchell, pp. 35-104 (skim), 260-94

October 25 - Mitchell, pp. 105-62; Malika Zeghal, “Religion and Politics in Egypt: The Ulema of al-Azhar, Radical Islam, and the State (1952-94),” International Journal of Middle East Studies 31 (1999): 371-99;
October 27 - Qutb, Chapters 1-6

November 1 - Qutb, Chapters 7-12 (short paper due)
November 3 - Ahmad Dallal, “The Origins and Objectives of Islamic Revivalist Thought, 1750-1850,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 113 (1993): 341-59; Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahhab, Kitab al-Tawhid; Commins, pp. 1-39

November 8 - Commins, pp. 40-129
November 10- Commins, pp. 130-209 (short paper due)

November 15 – Mahmood, pp. 1-78;
November 17 – Mahmood, pp. 79-117

November 22 – Mahmood, pp. 118-99 (short paper due)
November 24 – THANKSGIVING

November 29 – Presentation of Student Research

December 6 – Presentation of Student Research
December 8 – Presentation of Student Research (research paper due)

December 13 – Presentation of Student Research (if necessary)

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