• 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 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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 24 hours of seminars; and b) 106 hours of online activities, practice exercises, readings and assessment.

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. 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
2017 $3216
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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