Saturday, October 6, 2012

Islam in the Modern World

History 449/649 and RGS 449
Spring 2014
Course Syllabus

Dr. Zackery M. Heern
Phone: 270-809-6585
Twitter: @zackeryheern

Meeting Time: TR 1230-145 FH202
Office Hours: MWF 9:30-11:30, TR 1:45-2:45
Office: Faculty Hall 6B #4

Note: This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor’s discretion. It is the responsibility of each student to note any changes. All changes will be posted on Canvas.

Course Description:
Beginning with the 18th century, the course will cover reform movements, then look at Muslim responses to Western and modern influence in the Islamic world. Finally, the course will examine the rise of radical and moderate trends in Islam. The geographical reach of this course is Eurasia and Africa. Special attention will be paid to political Islam and Islamic terrorist organizations. (Same as History 649 and RGS 449.)


Voll, John Obert. Islam: Continuity and Change in the Modern World. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1994.

Mandaville, Peter. Global Political Islam. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Donohue, John J. and John L. Esposito. Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Additional required readings will be posted on Canvas.

Course Requirements:

Reading Discussion Responses: Nearly every week we will have a discussion on the readings for that week. Each student will prepare for the discussion by writing a response to the readings, which should be a bare minimum of 300 words (1 page). For graduate students, the minimum is 450 words (1 ½ pages). The response will be posted to Canvas. Each student is required to write responses to 12 of the 15 discussions. To receive full credit, students will also post at least two comments on responses posted by classmates. See the discussion board for more details.

Papers. Each student will write three papers for this class.

Paper 1: Book Review. Write a review (1,200 words, 4 pages) of a book taken from a list that I will provide.
Graduate students will write a review (1,800 words, 6 pages) of 2 books or 1 book and 3 journal articles related to the subject of the book.

Paper 2: Bibliographic Paper. Write a bibliographic paper (1,800 words, 6 pages) on one of the 15 topics of the course. The bibliography must include at least 2 books and 1 journal article.
Graduate students will write a bibliographic paper (2,400 words, 8 pages) that will include at least 3 books and 2 articles.

Paper 3: Research Paper. The term paper (3,000, 10 pages) will be based on research of primary and secondary sources. The topic will be chosen in consultation with me, but must be directly related to the subject matter of the course. As part of the research paper students will submit an annotated bibliography, an introduction, and an outline prior to the due date of the paper. The bibliography must include at least 3 books, 2 journal articles, and primary source material.
Graduate students will write a similar term paper of approximately 5,000-6,000 words (16-20 pages). The bibliography must include at least 4 books, 3 articles, and primary source material.

Participation. Students will receive a participation grade. As long as you regularly attend class and make a positive contribution to it, you will receive points for participation.

If a student misses 5 or more classes, his or her final grade will be automatically dropped by a letter grade. If a student misses 10 or more classes she or he will receive an E for the final grade.

Students who show up after roll is called will be marked late if they remind me after class. Students will receive half credit for being late and two tardies will be equated with one absence.

Students will lose points for cell-phone use or other inappropriate behavior in the classroom. Computers in the classroom are only to be used for note taking.

Canvas will be used extensively for this class. I will post announcements regarding changes in the syllabus and class schedule on Canvas. I will also use Canvas to post grades, etc. Please check it regularly.

Grade: (Your grade will be calculated as follows with the typical percentages equated to letter grades: 90%-100% = A, etc.)

Participation:                                    100
Reading Discussions:                   25 points each (300 total)
Paper 1:                                             100                
Paper 2:                                             200    
Paper 3:                                             300    
Total:                                                  1,000

Extra Credit
You may earn up to 10 extra credit points in this class by attending lectures, etc. on campus. I will alert you to extra credit opportunities throughout the semester. In order to receive credit, you must write a summary and critique (roughly 200 words). Each submission is worth 5 points. Extra credit is due no later than week 13.

Feel free to come to my office hours as often as you would like. You can contact me in the following ways:
  1. I will be in my office during the hours indicated above.
  2. Email: I check my email regularly and will respond to you as quickly as possible. Feel free to email me at
  3. Phone: 270-809-6585. If you are unable to come to office hours please call me. Since this is my office phone, I can only answer it when I am in my office. If I do not answer, please leave a message and I will call you back. This is a landline, which does not receive text messages.

Murray State University prohibits cheating, which includes plagiarism. If a student is charged with academic dishonesty, an E may be recorded as the final grade and the student may be expelled from the university. See below for more details.

Murray State University takes seriously its moral and educational obligation to maintain high standards of academic honesty and ethical behavior. Instructors are expected to evaluate students’ academic achievements accurately, as well as ascertain that work submitted by students is authentic and the result of their own efforts, and consistent with established academic standards. Students are obligated to respect and abide by the basic standards of personal and professional integrity.

Violations of Academic Honesty include:
Cheating - Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized information such as books, notes, study aids, or other electronic, online, or digital devices in any academic exercise; as well as unauthorized com­munication of information by any means to or from others during any academic exercise.
Fabrication and Falsification - Intentional alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Falsification involves changing information whereas fabrication involves inventing or counterfeiting information.
Multiple Submission - The submission of substantial portions of the same academic work, including oral reports, for credit more than once without authorization from the instructor.
Plagiarism - Intentionally or knowingly representing the words, ideas, creative work, or data of someone else as one’s own in any academic exercise, without due and proper acknowledgement.
Instructors should outline their expectations that may go beyond the scope of this policy at the beginning of each course and identify such expectations and restrictions in the course syllabus. When an instructor receives evidence, either directly or indirectly, of academic dishonesty, he or she should investigate the instance. The faculty member should then take ap­propriate disciplinary action.
Disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to the following:
1) Requiring the student(s) to repeat the exercise or do additional related exercise(s).
2) Lowering the grade or failing the student(s) on the particular exercise(s) involved.
3) Lowering the grade or failing the student(s) in the course.

If the disciplinary action results in the awarding of a grade of E in the course, the student(s) may not drop the course.

Faculty reserve the right to invalidate any exercise or other evaluative measures if substantial evidence exists that the integ­rity of the exercise has been compromised. Faculty also reserve the right to document in the course syllabi further academic honesty policy elements related to the individual disciplines.

A student may appeal the decision of the faculty member with the department chair in writing within five working days. Note: If, at any point in this process, the student alleges that actions have taken place that may be in violation of the Murray State University Non-Discrimination Statement, this process must be suspended and the matter be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity. Any appeal will be forwarded to the appropriate university committee as determined by the Provost.


Murray State University endorses the intent of all federal and state laws created to prohibit discrimination. Murray State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, veteran status, or disability in employment, admissions, or the provision of services and provides, upon request, reasonable accommodation including auxiliary aids and services necessary to afford individuals with disabilities equal access to participate in all programs and activities.

For more information, contact the Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity (IDEA), Equity and Access, 103 Wells Hall, (270) 809-3155 (voice), (270) 809-3361 (TDD).

The Racer Oral Communication Center offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of the presentation process.  We can provide assistance with topic selection, outlining, delivery, visual aids, and can video record your presentation.  To make an appointment, please call 809-3458 or visit our website ( to schedule through our online calendar.  To best make use of your time at the Center, please bring a copy of your assignment with you to your appointment.

The Communication Center's hours are 11am to 5pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. They have extended hours on Tuesday from 11 am to 8 pm.

Tentative Weekly Schedule

Part 1: Eighteenth Century

Week 1: Jan. 13
Introduction: What is History and What is Modernity?
Voll, ch. 1
Heern, “Reform, Revival, and the Creation of the Modern World,” in Emergence of Modern Shi'ism, pp. 24-47

Suggested Readings:
Mitchell, Timothy, Ed. Questions of Modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Press, 2000.

Week 2: Jan. 20
Eighteenth Century Islamic World and Usuli Shi‘ism
Voll, ch. 2, pp. 24-53 and 79-83
Naff, “Introduction” in Studies in Eighteenth Century Islamic History, pp. 3-15
Heern, “Vahid Bihbihani: Reviver of the Eighteenth Century,” in Emergence of Modern Shi'ism, pp. 82-106

Suggested Readings:
Arjomand, Said Amir, The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam: Religion, Political Order, and Societal Change in Shi‘ite Iran from the Beginning to 1890. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.
Levtzion, Nehemia and John Olbert Voll, eds. Eighteenth Century Renewal and Reform in Islam. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1987.
Naff, Thomas and Roger Owen, eds. Studies in Eighteenth Century Islamic History. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977.

Week 3: Jan. 27
Voll, Ch 2 pp. 56-79
Radtke, “Sufism in the 18th Century,” Die Welt des Islams, New Series, Vol. 36, Issue 3, Islamic Enlightenment in the 18th Century? (Nov., 1996), pp. 326-364
O’Fahey and Karrar, “The Enigmatic Imam: The Influence of Ahmad Ibn Idris” International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2 (May, 1987), pp. 205-219
Heern “Founding Fathers of Modern Islam,” in Custodians of the Saved Sect, pp. 204-228

Suggested Readings:
O’Fahey, R. S. Enigmatic Saint, Ahmad Ibn Idris and the Idrisi Tradition. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1990.
Sirriyeh, Sufis and Anti-Sufis: The Defense, Rethinking and Rejection of Sufism in the Modern World
Baljon, Religion and thought of Shah Wali Allah Dihlawi: 1703-1762

Week 4: Feb. 3
Vol. Ch. 2, pp. 53-55
Abou el-Fadl, “The Rise of the Early Puritans, Wahhabi Origins,” The Great Theft, pp. 45-74
Elizabeth Sirriyeh, “Wahhabis, Unbelievers and the Problems of Exclusivism,” Bulletin (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies), Vol. 16, No. 2 (1989), pp. 123-132

Suggested Readings:
Commins, David. The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia.
al-Uthaymin, Abd Allah Salih. Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab: The Man and his Works. New York: I.B Tauris, 2009.
Delong-Bas, Natana J. Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Haj, Samira. Reconfiguring Islamic Tradition: Reform, Rationality, and Modernity
Rentz, The Birth of the Islamic Reform Movement in Saudi Arabia: Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703/4-1792) and the Beginnings of Unitarian Empire in Arabia

Paper 1 Due on Thursday Feb. 13

Part 2: Nineteenth Century

Week 5: Feb. 10
Voll, Ch. 3 pp. 84-109
Donohue, “Early Responses,” pp. 7-38
Hourani, “Jamal al-Din al-Afghani,” and “Muhammad ‘Abduh,” in Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age: 1798-1939, pp. 103-60

Suggested Readings:
Haj, Samira. Reconfiguring Islamic Tradition: Reform, Rationality, and Modernity
Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age
Sedgwick, Muhammad Abduh
Muhammad Abduh, The Theology of Unity (primary source)
Watt, Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity
Sanyal, Ahmad Brelwi

Week 6: Feb. 17
Colonization and Shi‘i Iran
Voll, ch. 3, pp. 109-126
Danziger, “Interlude: Hostilities with the French,” in Abd al-Qadir and the Algerians, pp. 114-136
Arjomand, “Part 3: The Shi‘ite Hierocracy and the State, 1785-1890” in The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam, pp. 215-263

Suggested Readings
Danziger, Abd al-Qadir and the Algerians
Litvak, Meir. Shi‘i Scholars of Nineteenth Century Iraq: The ‘ulama’ of Najaf and Karbala. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Arjomand, The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam

Week 7: Feb. 24
Nationalism and Revivalism
Voll, ch. 3, pp. 126-151
Donohue, “Islam and Nationalism,” pp. 39-77

Suggested Readings:
Karpat, Politicization of Islam
Trimingham, Sufi Orders in Islam
Findley, Turkey, Islam Nationalism, and Modernity: A History
Martin, Muslim Brotherhoods in Nineteenth-Century Africa
Makdisi, 19th Century Lebanon and Sectarianism

Part 3: Twentieth Century

Week 8: March 3
Secularism, Socialism, and Democracy
Voll, ch. 4 152-177, 190-208, ch. 6 pp. 329-337
Donohue, “Islam and Socialism,” pp. 78-113 and “Islam in the Contemporary Secular State,” pp. 115-142, “Islam and Democracy,” pp. 261-330

Suggested Readings:
Esposito, John L. Islam and Politics. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1984.
Mernissi, Islam and Democracy
Kuru, Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey
Reinhard Schulze, A Modern History of the Islamic World
Hamid Enayat, Modern Islamic Political Thought
Kurzman, Ed. Liberal Islam: A sourcebook (primary source collection)

Week 9: March 10
Islamism: Muslim Brotherhood, etc.
Mandaville, Ch. 3
Voll, ch. 4 pp. 177-190, ch. 6 pp. 322-329
Makris, “Islamism: General overview,” in Islam in the Middle East, pp. 193-223

Suggested Readings:
Mitchell, Richard P., The Society of Muslim Brothers
Hroub, Political Islam
Kramer, Hasan al-Banna
Qutb, Milestones (primary source)
Strindberg, Islamism
Meijer, Ed. Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement
Abu-Rabi’, Intellectual Origins of Islamic Resurgence in the Modern Arab World

Paper 2 Due March 13

Week 10: March 17-21 (Spring Break No Classes)

Week 11: March 24
Resurgence of Islam: Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, etc.
Mandaville, Ch. 4
Voll, ch. 4 pp. 215-230, (review: pp. 97-104), ch. 6 pp. 337-366
Film: Battle for Algiers

Suggested Readings:
Eickelman, Muslim Politics
Commins, Islamic Reform in Syria
Azmah, Islams and Modernities
Brown, Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought
Esposito, Ed., Voices of Resurgent Islam

Week 12: March 31
“Islamic” States (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, etc.)
Mandeville, Ch. 5
Voll, ch. 5 pp. 231-288, ch. 6 pp. 289-313
Shaul Bakhash, “Khomaini: The Idol Smasher,” in Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution, pp. 19-51
David Commins, “Wahhabism and in a Modern State,” in The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia, pp. 104-130

Suggested Readings:
Akhavi, Shahrough. Religion and Politics in Contemporary Iran: Clergy-State Relations in the Pahlavi Period. Albany: Sate University of New York Press, 1980.
Amanat, Abbas. Apocalyptic Islam and Iranian Shi‘ism. New York: I. B. Taurus, 2009.
Said Amir Arjomand. The Turban for the Crown, The Islamic Revolution in Iran. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Moin, Baqer. Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah. New York: I.B. Taurus, 1999.
Kamrava, Iran’s Intellectual Revolution
Zubaida, Islam, the People and the State
Commins, The Saudi Mission and Saudi Arabia
Habib, Ibn Sa’ud’s Warriors of Islam: The Ikhwan of Najd and Their Role in the Creation of the Sa’udi Kingdom: 1910-1930
Holden, The House of Saud: The Rise and Rule of the Most Powerful Dynasty in the Arab World
Kostiner, The Making of Saudi Arabia 1916-1936: From Chieftaincy to Monarchical State

Week 13: April 7
Islam and Weak States (Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq)
Mandaville, Ch. 6
Voll, ch. 6 pp. 313-322, 367-374
O’balance, Civil War in Lebanon pp. 42-116
Sayigh, “Armed Struggle and State Formation,” Journal of Palestine Studies, XXVI, no. 4 (Summer 1997), pp. 17-32
Hezbollah documents
Hamas charter

Suggested Readings:
Haddad, Fanar. Sectarianism in Iraq: Antagonistic Views of Unity. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2011.
Jabar, Faleh, A. The Shi‘ite Movement in Iraq. London: Saqi, 2003.
Nakash, Yitzhak. The Shi‘is of Iraq. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.
Shanahan, Rodger. The Shi‘a of Lebanon: Clans, Parties and Clerics. London: Taurus Academic Studies, 2005.
Chehab, Inside Hamas
Milton-Edwards, Hamas
Sankari, Fadlallah
Levitt, Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God

Contemporary Trends

Week 14: April 14
Radical Islam and Jihad
Mandaville, Ch. 7
Donohue, “Jihad Defined and Redefined,” pp. 393-472Abou el Fadl, “Jihad, War, and Terrorism,” in The Great Theft, pp. 220-249
Black, “The Geometry of Terrorism,” Sociological Theory, Vol. 22, No. 1, Theories of Terrorism: Symposium (March, 2004), pp. 14-25

Suggested Readings:
Abou El Fadl, Khalid. The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
Peters, Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam
Kepel, Jihad: the Trail of Political Islam
Wright, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Week 15: April 21
Transnational Networks
Mandaville, Ch. 8 and 9

Suggested Readings:
Nasr, Vali. The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2006.
Nakash, Yitzhak. Reaching for Power: The Shi‘a in the Modern Arab World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. MSU
Yavuz, Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gulen Movement

Week 16: April 28
Arab Spring, Globalization, Human Rights, etc.
Mandaville, ch. 10
Donohue, “Global Voices: Issues of Identity,”pp. 473-512
Abou El Fadl, “Democracy and Human Rights, pp. 180-202 and “The Nature and Role of Women” pp. 250-274 in The Great Theft

Suggested Readings:
Allawi, Ali A. The Crisis of Islamic Civilization. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
Mayer, Islam and Human Rights
Gelvin, The Arab Uprisings

Finals Week: May 5-9

Final Paper #3 Due Tuesday May 6

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