Islam is the second largest world religion today, yet the least understood of any. This course will begin with Muhammad and the historical origins, pre-modern history, and key teachings of Islam as found primarily in the Quran. We will also consider major historical developments such as the division between the Sunni and Shia branches of the religion, in addition to the vital contributions of Islamic theology, law and mysticism (Sufism). In the second half of the semester we will address issues involving Islam in the modern period--for example, "fundamentalism" or revivalism, neo-revivalism, "religion and politics" in various countries, Islam in the West, and Islam as perceived in the West. Attention will also be given to Muslim ideas and practices regarding sexuality and gender as well as racial, ethnic and class issues.
- Acquire a basic knowledge of the history, scripture, practices and beliefs, and modern applications of Islam in various settings.
- Become conversant with important aspects of Islam as a global religion in the world.
- Gain competence in reading and interpreting the Quran both carefully and creatively.
- Recognize and be able to articulate some of the cultural, linguistic, and social differences among modern Muslims.
- Understand the dynamics between Islam and some of the cultural and historical contexts in which it has been and is situated.
- Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
- Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
- Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
- Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
- Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.
- Describe and analyze political, economic, and cultural elements which influence relations of states and societies in their historical and contemporary dimensions.
- Demonstrate knowledge of cultural, social, religious and linguistic differences.
- Analyze specific international problems, illustrating the cultural, economic, and political differences that affect their solution.
- Understand the role of a world citizen and the responsibility world citizens share for their common global future.