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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Postgraduate Course: Pioneers of Political Islam (PG) (DIVI11057)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an advanced survey of the phenomenon of political Islam, analyzing the writings of its key thinkers (in translation) and situating these ideas within their wider socio-political, economic, and gendered milieu.
Course description Academic Description:
'Political Islam' is a term that has dominated public debate, particularly after momentous historical events, from the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to 9/11 to the Arab Spring. But what, exactly, is this phenomenon? Why did it arise? Who are its principal thinkers and from which segment of the population does it draw the bulk of its support? How does it organize itself? What are its national, global, social, economic, and gendered demands? Indeed, to what extent can we refer to political Islam as a singular movement -'it' - and, if we cannot, what binds diverse political Islamic groups together? That is, what sets them apart from other political parties in Muslim societies? This course will engage these questions by offering both a historic and thematic survey of political Islamic thought.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course is comprised of two components:
- The first component - 'Conceptual Framing' - sets the stage for discussion by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the frameworks often used to analyze the phenomenon at hand. These include (but are not limited to) 'Political Islam', 'Muslim Politics', and 'Islamism'. This component will also provide the broader historical and global backdrop in which political Islamic thought emerged.

- The second component - 'Thinkers and their Contexts' - represents the bulk of the course, offering case studies of the pioneering thinkers in political Islamic thought. Through reading primary texts in translation, students will be directly exposed to their writings. At the same time, students will contextualize their ideas by examining their social settings.

A Note on Teaching Format:
The lectures will be in-person and all students are expected to have completed the weekly readings before the lecture. This will be particularly important for the tutorial that will directly follow the lecture, as the tutorial will be discussion-based and students should be prepared to engage the issues, questions, and perspectives raised in the readings. If any students need to self-isolate, the lectures will be recorded and the tutorials will be streamed live (though not recorded). This digital option is only a last resort; unless they are sick or self-isolating, students must be present at both the lectures and tutorials.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  10
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 10% - Participation: As noted earlier, students are expected to complete all the weekly readings before each class, and will be assessed on the quality of their engagement in the class discussions.

10% - Presentation: Students will deliver a 10 minute presentation, in which they will share the findings of their research essay with their colleagues. Further guidelines will be provided in class.

80% - Research Essay: The essay will be 4000 words on a topic of choice that needs to be pre-approved by the instructor. Detailed guidelines will be provided in class.
Feedback Students will receive formative oral feedback, early in the semester, on their essay topics, and the sources, perspectives, and debates that they intend to engage.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Acquire a critical understanding of the key thinkers and themes in political Islam, and the wider contexts in which they emerged.
  2. Understand the complex relationship between religion and politics in Muslim-majority societies.
  3. Appreciate the seminal role that social context plays in (re)shaping ideas and ideologies.
  4. Demonstrate a command of the various debates and contentions that have emerged within the field over the past few decades.
  5. Compose a research essay in a focused and nuanced fashion, carefully channeling the data to evidence the essay's argument.
Reading List
Introductory Readings:
Eickelman, Dale F. and James Piscatori. Muslim Politics (2nd Ed). Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Esposito, John L., Tamara Sonn, and John O. Voll. Islam and Democracy after the Arab Spring. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Euben, Roxanne L. and Muhammad Qasim Zaman. Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Laden. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Mandaville, Peter. Islam and Politics (2nd Ed). London: Routledge, 2014.

Rahnema, Ali ed. Pioneers of Islamic Revival (2nd Ed). London: Zed Books, 2006.

Further Readings:
Abdo, Geneive. No God but God: Egypt and the Triumph of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Afsaruddin, Asma. Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Ayubi, Nazih. Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World. London: Routledge, 1991.

Bayat, Asif. Post-Islamism: The Changing Faces of Political Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Deeb, Lara. An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Devji, Faisal. Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2005.

Eickelman, Dale F. and Jon W. Anderson eds. New Media in the Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.

Esposito, John L. and John O. Voll. Islam and Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Esposito, John L. and John O. Voll. Makers of Contemporary Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Hallaq, Wael. The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity's Moral Predicament. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.

Hefner, Robert ed. Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

Keddie, Nikki R. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

Kepel, Gilles. Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Mahmood, Saba. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

March, Andrew. Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

March, Andrew. The Caliphate of Man: Popular Sovereignty in Modern Islamic Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019.

Mir-Hosseini, Ziba. Islam and Gender: The Religious Debate in Contemporary Iran. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Mitchell, Richard P. The Society of the Muslim Brothers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Nasr, Vali. Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Roy, Olivier. The Failure of Political Islam. London: I.B. Tauris, 1994.

Roy, Sara. Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza: Engaging the Islamist Social Sector. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Salomon, Noah. For the Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan's Islamic State. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

Volpi, Frederic. Political Islam Observed. London: Hurst, 2010.

Yavuz, Hakan M. Secularism and Muslim Democracy in Turkey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Zaman, Muhammad Qasim. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Curiosity for learning and openness to different debates and perspectives
- Willingness to think comparatively, discerning both the similarities and differences between the various thinkers engaged
- Finely-tuned skills of close reading and critical analysis
- Ability to communicate effectively with others, both orally and in writing
KeywordsPolitical Islam,Social Movements,Islamic Studies,Middle East
Course organiserDr Shadaab Rahemtulla
Tel: (0131 6)50 8954
Course secretary
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