Course description: This is an introduction to Islam which will give you a foundation in the classical Islamic textual tradition. You’ll become familiar with the basic concepts, their history, and the various ways in which they’re utilized. We’ll centralize two topics: the practice of law (both medieval and in modern states) and popular practices (with a focus on dress). A prominent theme of the course is a critique of structures of power; hence the focus on law, how it changes, and what it’s really about.
This course is meant to deconstruct the idea that we can define a religion or create a profile for the adherents of any religion. It will show you that such definitions and profiles tell us more about our own assumptions than about anyone else.
1) Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an (Amana Publications, n.d.)
*this is the translation and commentary that we will refer to in class, but I encourage your reading and bringing in other translations of the Qur’anic text; several published translations are freely available on the internet: ISBN 9781590080269
2) Fadwa el Guindi, Veil: Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance (Berg, 2003): ISBN 9781859739297
3) Michael Sells, Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations (White Cloud, 2007): ISBN 9781883991692
All other readings will be available as pdf or through ebook links on Voices