• 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
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course introduces the nuances and trends that exist in Shi'a theology as a vibrant faith and a lesser-known branch of Islam and the challenges it creates or encounters in world politics. More specifically, it will examine the origin and historical development of Shi'ite Islam and its position amidst wider Islamic world. The Shi'ite theological interpretation of the socio-political themes of governance and religious authority as well as its conceptual approach toward modern notions such as democracy, secularism and globalisation will be explored. At regional and international levels, the course will also provide insights on major Shi'ite populated countries in the Middle East, namely Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, and their religious and political interactions amongst themselves and in relation to the wider Muslim and international community.       

Learning Outcomes

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

By the end of this course, you should be able to

1. Acquaint yourself with the nuances and trends that exist in Shi'a theology and history and use specific citations and study materials to explain key concepts, themes and theories in Shi'a Philosophy

2. Analyse and interpret the socio-political themes of governance and religious authority based on Shi'ite theological interpretation and describe and compare them in association with the concepts in the mainstream Islam

3. Compare and contrast Shi'ite approach with that of Sunni at the intellectual and pragmatic levels

4. Think, write and argue with the knowledge acquired as it relates to themes and subject matters in the course

5. Select and combine materials on a topic currently relevant to Shi'ite dynamics either at intellectual level or within a Shi'ite populated country in the Middle East

Indicative Assessment

4000 word major essay   (50%)

Class presentation on a relevant topic of your choice   (10%)                                                                

3 hour exam in end of semester exam period (40%)


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.

Preliminary Reading

Momen, Moojan. An Introduction to Shi'i Islam, New Haven and London: Yale University, 1985.

Cole, Juan. Sacred Space and Holy War: The Politics, Culture and History of Shi'ite Islam, London & New York: I.B. Taurus, 2002.

Amir Arjomand, Said.Ed., Authority and Political Culture in Shiism, New York: SUNY Press, 1988

Nasr. Vali. The Shia Revival: How Conflict within Islam Will Shape the Future, New York & London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006.

Nakash, Yitzhak. Reaching for Power: The Shi'a in the Modern Arab World, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007.



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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2016 $3054
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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