AS.194.105.  Islam and its Cultural and Religious Diversity, 600-1600.  3 Credits.  

While media often present Islam as a fairly univocal and compact cultural and religious system, news reports about tensions, hostility and at times open conflict within the Islamic world itself are frequent. Unity and internal diversity characterize Islam nowadays and have historical roots that have deeply shaped Islam since its very inception.This course will explore the historical origins of the dynamics of unity and diversity in Islam from the predication of Muhammad and the expansion of the first caliphate, to the formation of the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires. By focusing on the historical events and the cultural production of the first millennium of Islam, this course will offer a thorough historical introduction to its cultural and religious complexity.

Area: Humanities

AS.194.201.  Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Medieval World.  3 Credits.  

The three most widespread monotheisms have much more in common than is generally portrayed: a common founding figure, a partly shared succession of prophets, closely comparable ethical concerns and religious practices, a history of coexistence and of cultural, religious, social and economic interaction. This course will focus on a number of key texts and historical events that have shaped the relationships between Jews, Muslims, and Christians during the Middle Ages and contributed to their reciprocal construction of the image of the “other.” The geographical center of the course will be the Mediterranean and the Near and Middle East, a true cradle of civilizations, religions, and exchange.

Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences

AS.194.205.  Islamic Mysticism: Traditions, Legacies, Politics.  3 Credits.  

For over a thousand years, the Sufi tradition has been a dynamic force in Islamic social, political and spiritual life. The tradition offers a treasure trove of devotional literature and music, philosophical treatises, contemplative practices, and institutions of social and political organization. After unpacking the politics of the term “Sufi,” we will trace the historical development of the tradition from the early ascetics in Iraq and Syria to the age of trans-national Sufi orders, with case studies from South Asia, Turkey, and the United States. We will then move into some of the key constructs of the tradition of spiritual growth and character formation: the divine-human relationship, the stages of the spiritual path, contemplative and practical disciplines, ideas of sainthood, discipleship and ethical perfection, and the psychology of love. Throughout the class, we will explore the nature of experiential language and interrogate the tradition through the lens of gender. We will also experience Sufism through ritual and music.

Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences

AS.194.210.  Race, Gender, Citizenship: Being Muslim in America.  3 Credits.  

This course explores how American Muslims navigate and contest complex notions of belonging in the context of national conversations on race, gender, citizenship, and national security. With a focus on specific case studies that range from Black Muslim movements of the early twentieth century to the ongoing War on Terror, the course adds complexity to the public conversation on what it means to be Muslim - and what it means to be American. We will draw on history, ethnography, first-person narratives, films, blogs, documentaries and fiction. As a Community Engaged course, the class will include site visits and learning with and from Muslim communities in Baltimore.

Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences

AS.194.220.  The Qur'an: Text and Context.  3 Credits.  

For 1400 years, the Qur’an has played a central role in Muslim intellectual, spiritual, artistic and ritual life. This course will explore the sacred scripture of Islam through its foundational ideas, history of the text and thematic development, literary style, history and methods of interpretation, and role in Muslim spiritual and ritual life. We will also explore how the Qur’an weaves through literature, music and the visual arts.

Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences

AS.194.305.  Cultures of Pilgrimage in Islam.  3 Credits.  

The hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the pillars of Islam. But Muslims around the world also take part in many other pilgrimages, from the massive annual Shi’a pilgrimage to Karbala to the smaller ziyarat “visits” to Sufi saint shrines, to travel to centers of Islamic learning, to pilgrimage to isolated natural features like mountains, trees, valleys. What are the theologies that propel the act of travel in Islam? How are cities, architectures, economies shaped by these cultures? And how are these traditions affected by the wars and colonial projects that plague many Muslim-majority countries in the contemporary world? Readings in this course will draw from anthropology, philosophy, Islamic interpretive texts (tafsir), and travelogues.

Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences

Writing Intensive

AS.194.401.  Themes in Medieval Islamic Thought.  3 Credits.  

This seminar examines medieval Muslim thinkers who addressed themes at the intersection of theology, philosophy, science, and ethics: the definition of the nature of God’s attributes, His uniqueness, transcendence and omnipotence; human freewill and the limits of human knowledge; the nature of the world; and the relationship among reason, religion, and science. The course will look at how these and other crucial themes were addressed by major medieval philosophers and philosophical schools not only in Islam, but also in Judaism and Christianity, and highlight similarities and differences among the three major monotheistic faiths.

Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences

AS.194.502.  Independent Study.  3 Credits.  

Approval Required

Prerequisite(s): You must request Independent Academic Work using the Independent Academic Work form found in Student Self-Service: Registration > Online Forms.