Academic Programs 

Modern and Contemporary Islamic Thought*    (HI-667)
Winter/Spring 2009

This course deals with Islamic thought in the modern and contemporary Muslim world (since the beginning of the 19th century). The most important movements and tendencies of Modern Islamic Thought (Revivalism, Reformism and Radicalism, but also Nationalism and the so called Islamic Left or Islamic Socialism) will be analyzed, and examined through the works of their main exponents. The relationship between contemporary Muslim thought and the West will be considered, as well as the relationship between faith and reason in 20th century Islam. The aim of the course is to gain an understanding of the broad spectrum of ideas from which Modern Islamic thought has developed.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Tuesdays from 7 to 9:20 p.m., beginning Jan. 27

Davide Tacchini
Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies

Contact Information:



Course Syllabus

Week 1, January 27:
Self Introduction and Presentation of the Course. What Do We Mean with “Modern
Islamic Thought”?

Week 2, February 3:
Reactive Thought: the So Called Islamic Awakening or Revivalism and the Birth of Modern Islamic Thought.

Week 3, February 10:
Political Islam I: Islamic Reformism and Radicalism.

Week 4, February 17:
Political Islam II: The Society of the Muslim Brothers: Much More Than a Political Movement. History and Contemporary Developments.

Week 5, February 24:
Sayyid Qutb’s: Amrīkā Allatī Ra’aytu (America I have seen), Mere Polemic Something Deeper? The Road to the Current “War on Terror”.

Reflection Due

Week 6, March 3:
Contemporary Persian Thought, Abdolkarim Soroush.
Guest Speaker, Prof. Farian Sabahi, University of Turin, Italy.

Week 7, March 10:
Arab and Muslim “Reason”?

Reflection Due

Week 8, March 17:
Rethinking Tradition. Islamic Thought and the Challenges of Modernity.

Week 9, March 24:
‘Abdallāh Laroui, Hasan Hanafī and the Islamic Left or the Islamic Socialism.

Week 10, March 31:
Western Islam and the Way to a New Reformation, Tāriq Ramaḍān in Europe
and ‘Abdellāhi Ahmad an-Na’īm in the USA .

Week 11, April 7:
Reading Week/Spring Break, No class.

Week 12, April 14:
The Turkish Way, Kemalism, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and Fethullah Gülen.

Week 13, April 21:
General Revision and Question Time.

Shortly thereafter,

Final Paper Due

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