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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cabeiri Debergh Robinson
SIS 526
Seattle Campus

Political Islam and Islamic Fundamentalism

Examines political Islam as a modern phenomenon produced at the intersections between localized and globalized political cultures and between political, religious, and social authority. Focuses on anthropological studies to examine how Islamic publics produce moral judgments about political practices. Offered: jointly with ANTH 526.

Class description

Focusing on recent analysis of Muslim civil society and the Islamic public sphere, this course examines political Islam as a phenomenon produced at the intersection of universalistic and particularistic political cultures and in the spaces between political, religious, and social authority. The first part of the course examines the terms of analysis that social scientists employ to discuss ‘political Islam’ and ‘Islamic fundamentalism’. Students will examine the relationship between different forms of authority in Muslim societies and categories of Islamic political movements. The second part of the course will focus on anthropological case studies from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East and examine how different publics produce moral judgments about political practices.

The aims of this course are to introduce students to the complexities of issues surrounding Islamic political movements in contemporary Muslim societies and to learn to examine Islamic political movements through critical analyses that take into account historical, social, and cultural perspectives. This course further aims to assist students in engaging in reflective knowledge production; this means examining discipline-specific suppositions of method and analysis as well as the overt contents of the sources. At the graduate level, the course aims to assist students in placing their reading and research with the intellectual genealogies of established scholarship.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This class is taught as a seminar with occasional brief orientation colloquia by the professor. Each class will focus on discussion of the weekly readings and, in the later weeks of the quarter, discussion of students’ individual research projects. The seminar is limited to 15 students.

Recommended preparation

One course on Islam or a contemporary Muslim Society.

Class assignments and grading

Short written assignments and class discussion, taken together, will be an indication of students’ participation in class work. Graduate students will prepare a research paper or an annotated bibliography on a topic related to their research. There will be short take-home final exams essay on the assigned reading materials in which students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of key concepts.

Class participation 20%; book reviews 20%; research-based annotated bibliography and theoretical review 40%; final exam 20%.


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: 10/10/2011