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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cabeiri Debergh Robinson
SIS 407
Seattle Campus

Political Islam and Contemporary Islamist Movements

Examines Islamist movements (which seek to reform Muslim society through the capture and the modern state and the establishment of Islamic law) to understand how they impact regional politic and global political Islam. Prerequisite: either HIST 161, NEAR E 211, NEAR E 212, RELIG 211, RELIG 212, SIS 406/POL S 432, SISME 213, or SISME 400, any of which may be taken concurrently. Offered: Sp.

Class description

This seminar will examine 3 Islamist movements (movements which seek to reform Muslim society through the capture of the modern state and the establishment of Islamic practices of rule- especially Islamic law). The goal is to understand how Islamist movements have shaped the practice both of regional politics and of the emergence of global political Islam. The course will start by reading briefly on the history of modernist Islam and the rise of Islamist theory and political parties. Then the course will look at 3 parties in their regional Islamic context (Pakistan, Palestine, Indonesia). The final part of the course will focus on student’s own research. Students will have the opportunity to write a research paper on a topic which interests them. The research paper can serve as a draft of the SIS Qual Paper, a senior major paper, or a chapter of an honors thesis.

Student learning goals

Learn how to analyze the topic of Political Islam by mastering the scholarly conversation about the subject.

Learn how to identify schools, leading figures in the field, and works that change the nature of the conversation about the topic of Political Islam.

Learn how to approach books as "texts" (as in context) rather than as neutral bundles of data.

Learn how to distinguish between theoretical contributions and empirical contributions of a text and to discretely analyze, apply, and critique these contributions.

Sharpen synthetic writing skills and frame one’s discussion within the context of a ‘literature’, in this case literature on Political Islam.

General method of instruction

Seminar discussion and some lectures.

Recommended preparation

1 course on Islam as a religious tradition or on a contemporary Muslim society (HIST 161, RELIG 211/212, NEARE 211/212/213, SISME 213/400, SIS 406, POLSCI 432 or a similar course on approval)

Class assignments and grading

Biweekly writing assignments on assigned readings; seminar discussion; final research paper.

The final grade will reflect your full participation in this course weighted as follows: bi-weekly writing 25%; participation and discussion 25%; final paper 50%.


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