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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Gender and Ethics in Islam (DIVI10114)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores how scripture, theology and social realities reflect the complex and competing claims around issues of gender, sexuality, and ethics in Islamic thought and society.
Course description Description:
This course explores how scripture, theology and social realities reflect the complex and competing claims around issues of gender, sexuality, and ethics in Islamic thought and history. Students will engage with a number of human rights and feminist debates, and how they have been placed in a critical conversation with the Islamic intellectual tradition.

In terms of format, the course will be divided roughly between social history and textual hermeneutics. The first half of the course will seek to gender Muslim history, unearthing the realities, roles, and contributions of women and queer people in different 'moments' in Muslim pasts, in particular the formative period. The second half will pivot to hermeneutical method, exploring the creative ways in which female and queer theologians have reread key Islamic texts - including the Qur'an, hadith (prophetic traditions), Islamic law, and liturgical norms - in order to produce more gender inclusive
and egalitarian spaces through an Islamic discursive framework. Throughout the course, broader ethical issues will be thematically engaged from a feminist perspective, including (but not limited to) ontological equality, leadership, religious authority, sexual pleasure and fulfilment, reproductive rights, and bodily well-being / harm.

Student Learning Experience:
Engagement with primary source material in translation - in particular the Qur'an and early Islamic texts - is a central part of the learning journey, supplemented by secondary source readings. The weekly lecture will provide a broader framing and contextualisation of the weekly topic, and the tutorials will be devoted to discussing the themes, debates, and engrained assumptions within the assigned texts. Through a critical review assignment and research essay - discussed below - students will have the opportunity to engage with existing literature in the field, focusing on topics of particular interest to them.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Islam Past and Present: Issues of Gender and Ethics (DIVI10081) OR Islam Past and Present: Issues of Gender and Ethics (REST10044)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students are most welcome to enroll, as well as UoE students from other schools / departments.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Research Essay: 60% (2,500 words)
Critical Review: 30% (1,000 words)
Participation: 10%
Feedback Students will be given formative feedback on their research essays. Early on in the semester students will be encouraged to pick a topic of interest. They will submit a shorty essay plan outlining how they propose to engage their chosen essay question. CO will provide written feedback and also encourage students to meet in office hours to discuss the feedback further, if they would like to.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding of some of the key issues around Islam and gender, and how the relationship between law and ethics continues to be grounded in the Islamic tradition but also influenced by contemporary feminist and human rights debates.
  2. Engage critically with both primary and secondary sources so as to appreciate the continuing influence of the Qur'an and other pre-modern Islamic texts on some of the most challenging socio-ethical debates in Muslim societies.
  3. Appreciate the seminal role that social and historical context plays in shaping theological ideas, textual understanding, and religious practices.
  4. Compose a research essay in a focused and nuanced fashion, carefully channelling the data to evidence the essay's argument.
Reading List
Core Texts:
Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992)
Amina Wadud, Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)
Kecia Ali, Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence (Oxford: Oneworld, 2006).
Scott Kugle, Homosexuality in Islam: Critical Reflections on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered Muslims (Oxford: Oneworld, 2010).

Select Secondary Texts:
Ednan Aslan et al eds., Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2013)
Asma Barlas, Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2019 edn.)
Ayesha Chaudhry, Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)
Aysha Hidayatullah, Feminist Edges of the Qur'an (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014)
Jerusha Lamptey, Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)
Fatima Mernissi, The Forgotten Queens of Islam, Mary Lakeland trans. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993)
Barbara Stowasser, Women in the Qur'an, Traditions, and Interpretation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994)
Kecia Ali, Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2010)
Abdelwahab Bouhdiba, Sexuality in Islam, Alan Sheridan trans. (London: Saqi, 2012 edn.)
Matthew Caswell, The Slave Girls of Baghdad: The Qiyan in the Early Abbasid Era (London: I. B. Tauris, 2011)
Khaled El-Rouayheb, Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009)
Shereen El Feki, Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World (London: Vintage, 2013)
Joseph Massad, Desiring Arabs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007)
Pernilla Myrne, Female Sexuality in the Early Medieval Islamic World: Gender and Sex in Arabic Literature (London: I. B. Tauris, 2019)
Shadaab Rahemtulla, Qur'an of the Oppressed: Liberation Theology and Gender Justice in Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills While giving a comprehensive introduction to the field of gender and ethics in Islam, this course seeks to spark the 'beginning' of a much wider, and hopefully lifelong, student interest in querying theology, religion, and indeed society in general from a gender critical perspective. Further, the critical review assignment and term essay will both sharpen students' research skills and their ability to communicate their perspectives and arguments in lucid, structured prose.
Course organiserDr Shadaab Rahemtulla
Tel: (0131 6)50 8954
Course secretaryMr Andre Johnson Hall E Vasconcelos
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