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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cabeiri Debergh Robinson
SIS 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

“Comparative Perspectives on Contemporary Muslim Societies” This course offers a comparative approach to the examination of central cultural, social, and political practices of contemporary Muslim societies. The course seeks to examine how the disciplinary framework and comparative emphasis of anthropology can provide an analytic perspective to explain the relationship between the cultural and historical particularities of specific Muslim societies and the recurrence of apparently universal Islamic symbolism in local and transnational political discourses. The readings draw on studies of a range of Muslim societies, focusing on South East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and in the lectures and discussion, we will focus on anthropologists’ analytic frames of interpretation and explanation.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Each class will begin with a 60 min lecture and continue with discussion of the weekly readings. Each class will have one or two designated discussion leader(s) who will begin our discussion with a 10 minute presentation of the materials. We will also watch and discuss several ethnographic films. The class is limited to 35 students.

Recommended preparation

Students should have taken one area-studies course (esp. Middle East, South Asia, or South East Asia) which included analysis of a specific regional Muslim society or one course in Socio-cultural anthropology.

Class assignments and grading

There will be short answer midterm and final exams on lecture and reading materials in which students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of key concepts. In additions there will be a 10-12 page research paper which students will develop in several stages during the course and short in-class assignments and class discussion which, taken together, will be an indication of students’ participation in class work.

The final grade will reflect students’ full participation in this course weighted as follows: class participation 30%; midterm exam 20%; final exam 20%; and term paper 30%.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 10/20/2003