The Islamic Revival: from C18 Reform to C20 Political Action
Value: one unit
Prof. Francis Robinson
Taught through weekly two-hour seminars
3-hour exam (70%), best two of three coursework essays (20%), oral presentation (10%)
Over the past two centuries Muslim societies have been experiencing a major process of religious revival and reform, of which a dominant feature has been an increased emphasis on action in this life to achieve salvation. This course will examine how Islamic reform was expressed differently in different contexts in the C19th, how it came in many cases in the C20th to evolve into Islamism and competition for power in the modern state, and how this came in the last decades of the C20, in the context of globalisation and the breakdown of Cold War international order, to be expressed by some in violent action against Western targets. In following this course students will engage with the main figures in the movement from Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab to Usama bin Laden, and some of the main organisations from the Deoband School to al-Qaeda. They should be able to assess for themselves whether or not there really is a `clash of civilisations'.