• Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies

This course will give students an overview of the main tenets, historical development, and principal institutions of Islam over the centuries.  It will discuss what ‘Islam' itself has meant, and means, to believers and non-believers. While this course will not be driven by chronology, it will assess the relative importance of thematic factors as they emerged in specific time periods. Such factors will include the place of doctrine, the ‘invention' of tradition, the establishment of and challenges to legal and political order, and the nature of religious authority.

This course aims to acquaint students with relevant scholarly literature, but will do so by concentrating specifically on the literature on Islam as a corpus of norms and code of conduct.  It will thus provide an introduction to the controversies and schools of thought in the general field, consider the interaction between doctrine and history, and encourage students both to question conventional assumptions and to recognise the diversity of Muslim thought and experience.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

In this course students will develop or extend their knowledge and understanding of:

1. key issues concerning the development of Islam and its emergence as a world religious and social force;

2. the ways in which Muslims themselves have viewed their own faith and history over time;

3. critical debates about, and schools of thought on, the meaning of key normative practices, such as Islamic law, jihad, and pilgrimage; and

4. the relationship between doctrine and context in Muslim societies.

Indicative Assessment


 1 x 4,000 - 5,000 word essay                               50%

 1 x in-class presentation                                     10%

 1 x 3 Hr exam at end of semester                        40%

With the agreement of the course convener, students may request a variation to the assessment procedure if they are studying from outside Canberra and/or they are in full-time employment and expect especially heavy work obligations during the semester or are likely to have to travel for an extended period for work. Such varied assessment must remain consistent with the College's Guidelines for Word Limits on Assessment (http://cass.anu.edu.au/current-students/rules-and-policies).


The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course will be delivered on campus by way of one two-hour seminar per week for 13 weeks.  WebCT will also be extensively used for additional materials, supplementary readings and lecture notes.

Preliminary Reading

Ernst, C.W.  Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World.  Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.  

Lapidus, I.M.  A History of Islamic Societies.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edn., 2002.

Ruthven, M.  Islam in the World.  London; Penguin, 2nd edn., 2000.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1542
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3618
2014 $3762
2013 $3756
2012 $3756
2011 $3756
2010 $3750
2009 $3618
2008 $3618
2007 $3618
2006 $3618
2005 $3618
2004 $3618
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3608 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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