ARAB-406 /INAF-406: Slavery and Islam
Taught by Jonathan A.C. Brown
Mondays 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | ICC 270
The following are understatements: slavery and its global legacy have been in the news; and Islam always seems to be in the news. And ‘Islam & slavery’ has been in the news. When ISIS achieved prominence in 2014, Western audiences were stunned by the movement’s revival of enslaving prisoners of war. Many, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, were shocked at ISIS’ justification of slavery with reference to Islam’s scriptures and laws. But the debate over Islam & slavery is much older, going back centuries. It forms part of the global history of the phenomenon called slavery, a phenomenon that is as controversial at the level of academic study as it has been in its real-world manifestations.
This course will examine efforts of philosophers and scholars to describe, justify or criticize a spectrum of phenomena we call slavery. It will place the Islamic tradition within this setting, charting the history, laws and practices of slavery in Islamic civilization, following it all the way up to debates over abolition and the efforts of some to revive slavery today.
ARAB-443 /INAF-426: Readings in Fatwa Literature
Taught by Jonathan A.C. Brown
Wednesdays 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | ICC 270
This class will investigate the important Islamic thought genre of fatwas, or legal response. It will involve in-depth reading in the Arabic sources, discussion of their contents, and a survey of existing scholarship on the subject.
INAF-233: Racialization of Religion
Taught by Tamara Sonn
Tuesdays / Thursdays 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. | ICC 270
This seminar explores the intersection of religious, racial, ethnic, and class prejudice and its/their impacts in the U.S. and beyond. The course is discussion driven. Students will discuss assigned readings weekly, develop their own research questions, and present their preliminary findings to the seminar. They will then develop these findings into a final research paper. Grades will be based on participation in weekly discussions (30%), presentation of research question and preliminary findings (30%), and final research paper (40%).
The course begins with readings and discussion of critical race theory. It proceeds to an anthropological discussion of the development of notions of race, and then to Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning analysis of race in terms of caste, and an historian’s assessment of the unique construct of race and its consequences in the U.S. Students will receive discussion questions to guide their reading prior to each text discussion, and submit bullet-point responses at the end of the discussion of each text. Students will meet with the instructor to discuss development of their individual research questions and to discuss any issues of pertinent concern throughout the semester.
INAF-249: Muslims in the United States
Taught by Besheer Mohamed
Tuesdays / Thursdays 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. | ICC 270
Conversations about Muslim Americans often center on Islam and its compatibility with American norms – with one side arguing that devotion to Islam makes one a better American, and the other saying it’s impossible to be both fully American and fully committed to Islam. But the relationship between theological and national norms is only one aspect of how Muslims fit into American society – and in many cases not the most important aspect.
This course will examine the interaction of religious and national identities for American Muslims alongside their distinctive racial, ethnic, class and gender identities. First, it will examine how Muslims themselves see these interactions – and what that means for political participation and ally-ship as well as religious practice. It will also explore the ways in which the perceptions of the larger American public impact the roles Muslims play in American society.