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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Undergraduate Course: Islamic Movements in the 20th-21st Century (IMES10087)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAlthough Islamic movements like the Muslim Brothers, the Talibans and al-Qaeda are sometimes derided as "medieval", they are in reality an essentially modern phenomenon that has no precedent in Islamic history. The mobilisation of millions within permanent organisations aimed at defense of Islam is indeed the product of entirely new circumstances such as colonial occupation, mass literacy, urbanisation, and Western-dominated globalization. Another misconception about Islamic movements is that they are violent by nature, whereas in fact non-violent means of action have featured very prominently in their history. This course aims to convey a better understanding of modern Islamic movements by examining their origins, social base, modes of action, and ideology. The course is organised according to four categories of aims pursued by modern Islamic movements: promoting Islamic norms and values within society, taking over state power, expelling foreign occupiers, and countering rival religious communities within society (sectarianism).
Course description 1. Introduction
2. Background
a. Islamic movements as social movements
b. Pre-modern Islamic activism
3. Reforming society (1): education and proselytisation
4. Reforming society (2): charity and vigilantism
5. Seizing state power (1): the reformist approach
6. Seizing state power (2): revolution and violence
7. Defending Muslim territories (1): the Islamisation of national liberation struggles
8. Defending Muslim territories (2): al-Qaeda and global jihad
9. Fighting heretics and infidels: Sectarian and communal strife
10. Seizing state power (3): modern ┬┐Jihad states┬┐
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 courses in a suitable subject area at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Situate and explain the development of Islamic movements in their historical, political, and social contexts.
  2. Identify, analyse, and compare the aims, ideological underpinnings, modes of mobilisation, and behaviours of a variety of modern Islamic movements.
  3. Summarise and critically evaluate scholarly and other writings on modern Islamic movements, including their theoretical basis and sources.
  4. Apply the above for class activities and independent research related to the topics and themes of this course.
Reading List
Available through the course learn page.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Before enrolling students on this course, you are asked to contact the IMES Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 504182, e-mail
KeywordsIMES IslamMov
Course organiserDr Elvire Corboz
Course secretaryMs Monique Brough
Tel: (0131 6)50 3618
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