Contemporary Trends in Islamic Thought
The beginning of the 21st century is turning out to be a dynamic one for Islamic thought. From bloggers to superstar imams, academics to activists, a host of individuals and groups are moving beyond defensive or reactive postures to address contemporary local and global challenges in increasingly confident ways. Examples include post-Islamist politics in North Africa and Turkey, Indonesian eco-Sufism, American Muslim inner-city initiatives, Islamic microfinance, and recent approaches to Muslim sexual ethics, nonviolent resistance, and peaceful conflict resolution. Although the focus of this course will be on intellectual and theological approaches that break new ground in one way or another, the range of political, social, and religious orientations examined will be wide. We will look at movements with charismatic leaders and movements that are leaderless or “leaderful.” We will also look at the way in which new media is shaping or being shaped by these discourses. Because the course will not provide basic introductory material on Islam, a prior course in Islam or the Qur’an is a prerequisite.