RELS533 Islam (3 semester hours)

This course will enable students to examine Islam and Islamist movements in historical, political, and cultural contexts, and to understand Islam and the Islamic world more broadly. It does not focus on Islamism specifically, but does include it. The breadth of the course content reflects the inconsistent and uncertain usage of the term Islam. Strictly defined, Islam refers only to the religion founded by Muhammad. It is not a political, ethnic, geographic or cultural term any more (or less) than Christianity is. After investigating the origins and expansion of Islam through history, a central theme explored concerns the various expressions of Islam in the Middle East and beyond, and the relationship of theology to polity within Islamic societies and predominantly Muslim nations.