ISLA 210 Muslim Societies07/01/2013Muslim Societies/ISLA 210Mondays and Wednesdays/11.35-12.55 in Burnside 1B45 Laila Parsons ([email protected])Office Hours: Wednesday 2.30-4/Ferrier 484Muslim societies today comprise 1.5 billion people living in dozens of Muslim-majority countries throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as in countries with substantial Muslim minorities. Instead of trying to provide a comprehensive survey of all those countries, this course offers a series of deeper investigations of various aspects of the recent history of three Muslim-majority societies: those of Egypt, Palestine, and Iran. The course focuses on certain people and moments: Muhammad Abduh, the famous Egyptian reformer and theologian; Leila Ahmed, an Egyptian feminist scholar; the Shah of Iran; Ghassan Kanafani, a Palestinian writer; the Iranian Revolution of 1979; the Egyptian Revolution of 2011; the 1948 War in Palestine and so on. This eclectic approach allows students to appreciate the variety and complexity of the modern history of Muslim societies, while at the same allowing for a detailed presentation of certain people and moments.For the purpose of this course, “Muslim Societies” is understood in the broad, cultural sense, so as to encompass all those living in societies where Muslims form a majority, i.e., not only Muslims but non-Muslims (such as Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians). Because of this, the course includes some primary sources authored by people who are not Muslim, but who are nonetheless important parts of the Muslim societies they live in. Obviously, not every Muslim in a Muslim society is a believing and practicing Muslim, so some readings will touch on the question of faith and religious practice but other readings will be unrelated to faith and religious practice. In other words, secularism is also treated as integral to Muslim societies.EvaluationPop quizzes and a take-home midterm and final exam will assess how carefully students have been doing the readings. Conferences are scheduled for regular class times, and will be an opportunity to discuss the readings in more depth. Discussion questions for conferences will be posted on myCourses. It is very important to attend the lectures. They will not be a regurgitation of the readings but will provide analysis and context for the
readings. Listening carefully to the lectures and taking notes will be essential for doing well in the two take-home exams.Pop quizzes: 15%. There will be four pop quizzes over the course of the semester. Only the top three quizzes will be counted towards the final grade. If you miss a pop quiz because you are sick you will be allowed to re-take it, but only if you provide a doctor’s note.