Islam in the Eyes of the West

KHC RN 103

The course begins with a discussion of how religion as a category was defined by Europeans and Christians primarily in the 19th century and applied to the study of non-Europeans cultures at the same time. This discussion of 19th century conceptions of religion is followed by an engagement with the diversity of devotional expressions of Islam, through studies of art, poetry, philosophy, and ethnography. Next, the course will engage the discursive phenomenon of Orientalism and the writings of Orientalists to see when and how these western categories of religion were applied to Muslim beliefs and practices. From there we will examine how Muslims in the modern period responded to modernity and wrote about Islam through similar Orientalist perspectives, which gave rise to political Islamic thought. Finally, we will consider how western political theorists have used these same Orientalist categories of religion to support the theory of an inevitable conflict between the West and Islam in the contemporary period. The course will conclude with criticisms of this "clash of the civilizations" theory and reflections on religion in the aftermath of September 11.

FALL 2017 Schedule

Section Instructor Location Schedule Notes
A1 Purohit KHC 114 TR 12:30 pm-1:45 pm Kilachand
Freshmen Only

Note that this information may change at any time. Please visit the Student Link for the most up-to-date course information.